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ON THE SUNNY SHORE.
ik i ^^\
ON THE SUNNY
(HMIf RV/jaiBHE t BWICl)
TnnibEal from the Poliih by
S. C. Di SOISSONS
M of "A Pariam in America," " BoMon An
R. F. FENNO & COPANY
9 AND II EAST i6TH STKSOT
FBNNO & COMPANY
ON THE SUNNY SHORE.
In an open carriage the painter was
sitting beside Pani Elzen; opposite them
were her twins^ llomulus and Remns. He
was thinking about her and looking at the
sea^ and the scenery was worth looking at.
They were driving from Nice to Monte
Garlo^ on the road called old Cornishe,
which stretched along the rocky shore.
To the left the view was stopped by high
gray bare rocks; to the right the bine
depth of the Mediterranean^ apparently
lying very low^ looked like a boundless
precipice. From the heights on which
they were the small fishermen's boats looked
8 On the Sunny Shore.
like white spote^ and in the far distance it
was difficnlt to distinguish the sails from
scamews flying near the water.
Pani Elzen was leaning on Swirski^s
shoulder; and was looking with her dreamy
eyes on the mirror-like sea, and did not
seem to realize what she was doing.
Swirski felt her contact, and a shiver
of delight ran through him. He was
thinking that if Romulus and Remus were
not there he would encircle her waist and
press her to his breast.
But in the meanwhile he was afraid that
if he should do so ho could not hesitate
any longer, and would be obliged to
At that moment Pani Elzen said:
*'Will you stop the carriage, please?"
Swirski did so, and they were silent for
''What a calmness after the noise in
Monte Carlo!" said the young widow.
On the Sunny Shore. 9
I hear only the music," answered the
painter. '' It's probable they are playing
on board of an ironclad in Ville Franche."
In fact, the same wind which bore the
soft tones of the music from time to time
brought the perfume of orange blossoms
Beneath one could see the roofs of villas
scattered on the shore, hidden in the
thicket of eucalyptais,and beside them large
white spots formed by blossoming almonds
and pink palms. Still lower there was
seen the blue harbor of Ville Franche,
flooded with sunlight, with swarms of
The life seething beneath was in strange
contrast with the silent deadness of the
bare mountains, over which the trans-
parent sky, without a cloud, was stretched.
Here, amid those quiet rocks, everything
grew small and disappeared. The car-
10 On the Sunny Shore.
riage seemed to be some kind of bng^
glaed to the rocks.
*' Here life ends entirely/' said Swirski,
looking on the bare stones.
Pani Elzen leaned heavier on his
shonlder and answered with sleepy Toice:
''It seems to me it begins here.''
Swirski answered after awhile with a
" Maybe you are right.''
And he looked at her askance. Pani
Elzen raised her eyes to his^ bat soon cov-
ered them with her eyelids, as if she was
confused. Notwithstanding that opposite
her were sitting the two boys, at that
moment she looked like a young girl
whose eyes cannot bear the first glimmering
of love. Then they were both silent; only
from below sounds of music were heard.
In the meanwhile, far out on the sea,
near the entrance to the harbor, appeared
a white cloud of smoke, i^ud immediately
On the Sunny Shore. 11
the ''qnietness was disturbed by Bemus,
who, jumping from his seat, exclaimed:
''Tiens! h FohmidahUr
Pani Elzen looked angrily at her young-
est twin. She regretted that moment, in
which every word would decide her future.
*' Eemus/' said she, ''veuz-tu te tairef
'^Mais, maman (fest Fohmidabhr
*' What a dreadful boy!"
''He is stupid, but this time he is
right,'^ said Romulus. " We were in Ville
Franche yesterday, and they told us that
the whole squadron was here except tKe
Formidable, which they expect to-day.'*
To this Bemus answered with a strong
accentuation on the last syllable:
*' You are stupid yourself!"
They began to fight. Pani Elzen
knew how much Swirski was disgusted
with the way the boys were beiug brought
12 On the Sunny Shore.
np and with their language. She ordered
them to be qniet^ and then said:
'*I told yon, as well as Mr. Kresowicz,
that yon mnstn^t speak any other language
Eresowicz was a student from Zurich,
and had consumption. Pani Elzen found
him in Riviera and engaged him as a tutor
for her children, after she met Swirski, and
especially after the satirical remark of the
rich Pan Wiadrowski, that ** respectable
houses do not educate children to be trav-
In the meanwhile the Formidable
spoiled the humor of the impressive
painter. After a time the carriage, rat-
tling on the stones, moved further on.
'* It is you who asked me to take them
with us," said Pani Elzen with a sweet
voice. *' You are too kind to them; but
we must come here some moonlight night.
Will you come?"
On the Sunny Shore. 13
'* Every time yon wish me to," answered
Swirski. "There is no moon to-night
and your dinner will be very late."
" It's tme," said Pani Elzen, " but will
you tell me when it will be full moon?
What a pity I didn't ask you to dine with
me alone. During the moonlight it must
be charming here, although to-night my
heart palpitates very much. If you could
only know how it is throbbing just now!
Look at my pulse; one can see it even
through the glove."
Here she showed her hand, clad in a
very tidy glove, and offered it to Swirski.
He took it in both his hands and looked.
" I can't see it," said he, " but I will be
able to hear it."
And bending his head, he put his ear
on the buttons of the glove, pressed the
hand very close to his face, then kissed it,
"When I was a lad I used to catch
14 On the Sunny Shore.
birds, and their hearts throbbed in exactly
the same way. Tear pulse is like a cap-
She smiled almost sadly and repeated:
"Like a captive bird?*' After awhile
she asked: '^ What did you do with the
"I was very much attached to them,
but they always flew away."
" Bad birds!"
The painter spoke further with a certain
'' It always happened that way in my
life. I searched in vain for a bird which
would like to remain with me; finally I
lost even hope."
"No! You must keep that," answered
Here Swirski said to himself that, as
this thing began so long ago, it must be
finished as it will please Ood. In that
moment he had the impression of a man
On the Sunny Shore. 15
who stuffs his ears with his fingers and
covers his eyes with his hands when he
wishes to plunge; bnt he felt that it must
be done^ and that there was no time for
*' Would you not prefer to take a walk?''
he asked. '^ The carriage can follow us,
and then we will have more freedom to
'^ Very well," said Pani Elzen with de-
Swirski touched the coachman with his
stick, the carriage stopped, and they all
alighted. Bomulus and Remus rushed for-
ward, throwing stones over the precipices,
while Swirski and Pani Elzen remained
behind. But evidently there was some
ill-fate over them that day, for before they
could take advantage of the moment they
perceived a cavalier, followed by a groom,
coming from Monaco stop where Bomulus
and Bemus were.
16 On the Sunny Shore.
''It is Do Sinten/^ said Pani Elzen
''Yes, I recognize him.'*
In fact, they noticed the head of a horse,
and above it the horse-like face of the
young De Sinten. He hesitated at ap-
proaching, but evidently thought that if
they had wished to be alone they would
not have taken the boys with them; so he
jumped from his horse, and handing the
reins ,to the groom, greeted them with a
"Good-morning," said Pani Elzen, a
little dryly. " It's your hour?*'
" Yes. In the morning I shoot pigeons
with Wilkisbey; therefore I can't^ ride, as
it might disturb my pulse. I have seven
pigeons more than he already. Do you
know that the Formidable is coming to
Ville Franche to-day, and that day after
to-morrow the admiral gives a ball on
board of her?"
On the Sunny Shore. 17
''We haye seen her coming in/'
*' I was just going to Ville Franche to
see an oflScer^ a friend of mine^ but it's too
late now. If you will permit, I will return
with you to Monte Carlo."
Pani Elzen assented by a nod of her
head and they walked on together. Sin-
ten, being a horseman by vocation, imme-
diately began to talk about his hunter^
which he had been riding.
"I purchased him from Waxdorf,*' said
he. '* Waxdorf lost in trente et quara?iie
and was in need of money. He played on
inverse and he had met a series of six, but
then the cards changed.'' Then he turned
to the horse, saying: *' Pure Irish blood,
and I bet my neck that there is no better
hunter in the whole Cornishe, only he is
difficult to mount."
''Is he balky?" asked Swirski.
" Once on his back he is as gentle as a
18 On the Sunny Shore.
child. He is already accustomed to me,
but you could not mount him.*'
Swirski, who in the matter of sport was
very vain, said:
*' Why notr
** Better not brag, at least not here on
the precipice/' exclaimed Pani Elzen.
But Swirski was already near the horse,
and in the twinkling of an eye was sitting
in the saddle, without any resistance what-
ever from the horse, which, though per-
haps balky, thought it wouhl be better
not to cut any fancy capers on the prec-
The horse and rider in a short gallop
disappeared at a turn of the road.
" He is sitting quite well,'' said De Sin-
ten, ^^but he will spoil my horse. Pre-
cisely speaking, there are no roads here
"Your horse proved to be very quiet,"
said Pani Elzen.
On the Sunny Shore. 19
** I am very glad of it, because I was
afraid there would be an accident/'
Ou his face, however, there was a look
of embarrassment; in the first place, be-
cause what he said about difficulties while
mounting the horse looked like a lie, and
then there was a certain antipathy between
him and Swirski.
It is true that De Sinten never had any
serious plans in regard to Pani Elzen, but
he preferred that nobody should interfere
with those he had. Besides, a few days
before there had been some bitter words
exchanged between him and Swirski. Sin-
ten, being an inveterate aristocrat, said
once, during a dinner at Pani Elzen's
hotel, that '^ according to his opinion the
man begins with a baron.'* To that Swir-
ski, who was in bad humor, asked: ^'On
which side?'' The young man took this
question very much to heart, and began
to consult Pan Wiadrowski and Counselor
On the Sunny Shore.
Eladzki as to how he should act. Then
he learned, to his great astonishment, that
Swirski had a princely crown in his coat-
of-arms. The knowledge of Swirslci's ex-
traordinary strength and his skill in the
use of pistols pacified the baron's nerves
in such a way that the angry words left
only a dislike in both hearts. And then,
since Pani Elzen seemed to prefer Swirski,
this dislike became purely platonic.
The painter, however, felt it the more
of the two. Nobody thought that the
whole affair would end in matrimony, but
among acquaintances they began to talk
about his sentiment for Pani Elzen. On
his part he suspected that Sinten and his
companions were laughing at him. It is
true they did not betray themselves by
even one word, but just the same Swirski
thought so, and he resented it, principally
for Pani Elzen's sake.
Therefore he was glad that, thanks to
On the Sunny Shore. 21
the peaceful disposition of the horse^ Sin-
ten appeared to be a man who^ even with-
out any reason^ would say things not true;
so on his return he said:
"Very good horse, and he is good be-
cause he is as quiet as a lamb/^
Then he dismounted and they walked
on together. Pani Elzen, in order to get
rid of Sinten, began to talk about art, of
which the young sportsman had not even
the slightest idea. But he preferred to
tell them the gossip of the gambling
establishment, and he also congratulated
her on the good luck she had had last night.
She listened with constraint, being ashamed
to be told before Swirski that she had par-
ticipated in the game. Her embarrass-
ment increased all the more when Romulus
^'Maman, you told us that you should
never gamble. Give each of us a louis for
it, will your
122 On the Sunny Shore.
She answered as if not talking to any
^' I was looking for the Counselor Eladz-
ki to invite him to dinner to-day; then we
enjoyed a little game/'
'^Give each of us a louis/' repeated
''Or buy us a small roulette/' added
"Don't tease me. Let us go to the
carriage. Au revoir, Monsieur de Sinten. '*
Then they separated, and after awhile
Swirski again found himself sitting beside
the beautiful widow; but this time they were
occupying the front seat, because they
wished to look at the sunset.
" They say that Monte Carlo is better
sheltered than Men tone," said the widow;
"but how it tires me! — this continual
noise, the movement, and the acquaintances
On the Sunny Shore. 23
which one must unwillingly make. Some-
times I wish I could run away from here
and spend the rest of the winter in some
quiet comer where I would see only people
whom I wish to see. Which place do you
like the bestr
*^ I like St. Raphael very much.''
*' Yes, but it is so far from Nice/' she
answered in a soft voice, ** and you have
your studio in Nice."
A moment of silence followed, then
Pani Elzen asked again:
" How about Antibes?"
*^ That's true. I had almost forgotten
**It's so near Nice. You must stay
after dinner; then we can decide which
will be the best place to go to.*"
He looked into the depth of her eyes
" Would you truly like to escape from
24 On the Sunny Shore.
*^ Let us speak frankly/' she answered.
'* In your question I feel a doubt. You
suspect that I am talking in order to show
myself better, or at least less superficial
than I am. You are right to think that
way, for you see me in the whirlpool of
society continually. But I will say that
very often one follows a certain movement
only for the reason that he is pusbed in
that direction against his will, and must
bear the consequences of his previous life.
As forme, maybe there is in me the feeble-
ness of a woman, who, without somebod3r*s
help, lacks energy? — granted. But it
does not prevent me from longing very
sincerely for some peaceful corner and
quiet life. They may say what tliey
please, but we are like climbing plants —
when they can't climb they crawl on the
ground; therefore the people are very
often mistaken in thinking that we crawl
voluntarily. By this crawling I under-
On the Sunny Shore. 25
stand merely an empty life without any
higher thoughts. But how can I defend
myself? Somebody asks his friend to be in-
troduced to me, then he pays me a visit —
the second, asks, and so on. What can I
do? Refuse him? Why, no! Therefore
I invite, but only for this reason, that the
more people I have in my drawing-room
the more they make themselves indiffer-
ent, and in that way nobody can get an
" You are right in that," said Swirski.
'^ You see, in that way there is created
a stream of worldly life, of which I can't
get rid of by myself, and which often tires
and disgusts me so much that I almost cry
"I believe you."
"Yon ought to believe me; but you
must believe this also — that I am better
and less frivolous than I appear. When
any doubts arise, or when people talk of
26 On the Sunny Shore.
me^ yon must think that I possess
some good qualities. If you will not
think that way I shall be very unhappy."
"I give you my word that I always
prefer to think the kindliest of you.'^
'' It ought to be 80^" she answered in a
soft voice, ** because, even if everything
that is good in me were deadened, it would
regenerate in your company. It depends
so much with whom one lives. I would
like to say something, but I am afraid."
'^ But you mustn't accuse me of exalta-
tion or of anything worse, for I am not
exalted. I am talking as a well-balanced
woman, who states only that which exists
though wondering a little at the fact. Well,
then, with you I find my perverse soul all
quiet and sunny, the same as when I was a
young girl, although to-day I am an old
woman. I am thirty-five years old."
Swirski looked at her with a beaming.
On the Sunny Shore. 27
almost enamoured face ; then he slowly
raised her hand to his lips, after which he
"Ah! beside me you are still a young
girl, for I am forty-eight — here is my
Having said this he pointed with his
finger to the sunset.
And she looked toward that light, which
was reflected in her radiant eyes; then she
spoke softly, as to herself:
"Great, marvelous, dear sun!"
Then followed a silence, while a quiet
red light fell on their faces. In fact,
the great and marvelous sun was setting,
and underneath it the light, transparent
clouds shone like gold.
Kear the shore the sea was plunged in
shadow, but further out on the deep
there was a great gleam, while beneath on
the lilac background of the air the motion-
less cypresses were standing out.
On the Sunny Shore.
The guests invited by Pani Elzen gath-
ered in the Hdtel de Paris at seven o'clock
in the evening. They had given her a
separate dining-room, with a small draw-
ing-room attached, in which the coffee
was served after the dinner. The lady
announced ^^an informal affair," but the
men did not know what to think about it,
and they came in evening dress and white
cravats. She was dressed in a pale-pink
low-cut dress, and looked quite young and
fresh with her delicate face and small
head that so enchanted Swirski. Her
ample shoulders were white and transpar-
ent, like mother-of-pearl, while from her
eyes beamed the happiness which she felt.
Among the guests, besides Swirski anil
De Sin ten, were the old Counselor Kladz-
On the Sunny Shore. 29
ki, with his nephew Zygmund, a young
nobleman, not very polished, but auda-
cious, whose eyes shone too brightly to
suit Pani Elzen; Prince Walery Porzecki,
a man forty years old, with a large
face, bald head, and the pointed skull
of an Aztec; Pan Wiadrowski, rich and
malicious, owner of petroleum wells in
Galicia, art lover and dilettante; and
Kresowicz, a student and temporary tutor
of Romulus and Remus. Pani Elzen had
invited him because Swirski liked his
The young hostess had always wished,
and now more than ever, to have, as she
expressed it, *'an intellectual salon/' But
in the beginning she could not turn the
conversation from local gossip and inci-
dents of the gambling house which Wi-
adrowski called '* Slav," reasoning that
there one could hear more Slav spoken than
any other language. Wiadrowski spent
30 On the Sunny Shore.
his time in Monte Carlo langhing at his
own conntrymen and other younger Slav
brothers. It was his hobby; therefore he
began to tell that two days ago he had
seen in Gercle de la M6diterran6e^ at six
o^clock in the morning, only seven people,
and all were Slavs.
"We are bom that way,*' said he, turn-
ing to the hostess. *' Other people count
thus: Nine, ten, eleven, twelve, etc.;
but every true Slav will say: Nine, ten,
jack, queen, king. Yes! The cream of
our society comes to Monte Carlo, and here
one makes the cheese out of it.'*
To that Prince Walery, with the pointed
skull, pronounced, with the voice of a
man who discovers unknown facts, that
every abused passion is perilous, but that
to Cercle de la M6diterran6e belong many
distinguished foreigners whose acquaint-
ance is valuable and useful. One can
serve one's country everywhere. Three
On the Sunny Shore. 31
days ago he had met there an Englishman,
Chamberlain's friend, and this English-
man asked him abont Poland, and he, the
prince, wrote him on a visiting card the
political and economical situation in gen-
eral and the social aspiration in particular.
This card most assuredly will reach, if not
Chamberlain's hands, because he is not
here, at least Salisbury's, which will
be still better. Probably they will meet
Salisbury at the ball which the French
admiral is going to give. During this
ball the Formidable will be lighted d
giorno with electricity.
Kresowicz, who was not only consump-
tive, but also a man who belonged to the
red party, and hated the society in
which, being the tutor of Romulus and
Bemus, he was obliged to live, began to
laugh sneeringly, like a hyena, on hearing
about the visiting card. Pani Elzen, not
wishing to pay any attention to him, said:
32 On the Sunny Shore.
At any rate, people here do marvels.
I hear that the whole way from Nice to
Marseilles will be lighted by electricity.*'
"The engineer Ducloz was preparing
snch a plan/' said Swirski, " but he died
a couple of months ago. He was snch an
enthusiastic electrician that in his will
he asked to have his tomb lighted with
" On his tombstone/' said Wiadrowski,
*' he ought to have the inscription/ Eter-
nal rest give him, Lord^ and may elec-
tricity light him for ages on ages.
But the old Counselor Eladzki scolded
him for joking on serious things; then he
attacked the whole Biviera. Everything
here is pretext and Hague, beginning with
the people and ending with things. Every-
where one meets marquises, counts and
viscounts, but one must look out that they
do not steal the handkerchief from one's
On the Sunny Shore. 33
pocket. It is the same with comfort; in
his office in Wieprzowiski one could pat
five such small rooms as the one they give
him in the hotel. The doctors sent him
to Nice to get fresh air, and the Prome-
nade des Anglais smells like a Jewish back-
yard — his nephew Zygmund can testify to
it. But Zygmund's eyes were looking at
Pani Elzen's shoulders, and he did not
''You must go to Bordighieri/' said
Swirski. '' The Italian dirt is artistic at
'* But you are living in Nice, just the
''Because I can't find a studio on the
other side of Ventimigli. But if I should
change I would go to Antibes.''
Here he looked at Pani Elzen^ who
smiled and dropped her eyes.
After a while, however, wishing to give
to the conversation an artistic tendency.
34 On the Sunny Shore.
she began to talk about Rumpelmayer's ex-
hibition and about some new pictures which
she had seen two days ago, and which the
French journalist Krauss called impres-
sionisticO'decadants. Wiadrowski raised
his voice and asked with the tone of
"Who are decadants, anyhow?'*
"One might say/' answered Swirski,
" that they are people who prefer the dif-
ferent sauces with which the art is served
to the art itself/'
But the Prince Porzecki was vexed at
Kladzki's opinion of marquises^ counts
and viscounts. " Even the rascals coming
here belong to the higher species of ras-
cals^ and they are not satisfied with steal-
ing a handkerchief. One can meet here
great pirates. But besides these there
come here the most refined and richest
people, and it is very proper that high
finances meet here high birth, because in
On the Sunny Shore. 35
that way the world becomes polished!
Pan Eladzki ought to read novels like
'Idylle Tragique/ and he would persuade
himself that besides suspicious characters
one meets here those of the highest social
rank — such as will be met with on the
They began to talk about *' Idylle Tra-
gique.'' Young Eladzki, speaking about
the hero of that novel, made a remark that
he was stupid in giving up a woman for a
friend, and that he, Eladzki, would not
do it — not for ten friends — but would for
his own brother. Wiadrowski interrupted
him, the French novels being his other
" What makes me very angry,*' said he,
** is this selling of dyed foxes instead of
natural ones. If those gentlemen are
realists they must write the truth. Have
they paid any attention to their lieroines?
The tragedy begins by the lady fighting
36 On the Sunny Shore.
with herself and continuing to struggle
most dreadfully through half the volume,
and from the first page I know, so help me
God, how it will end. How tedious it is,
and how often it is repeated! I admit
that fast women must be tolerated, and
that they have certain rights to literature
also, but they must not sell me a fast
woman for a tragical princess, when I
know that such souls have had lovers be-
fore the tragedy began and will have them
after the tragedy ends. They will struggle
again as before and everything will finish
in the same way. What a falsehood, what
an atrophy of moral sense and the sense of
verity! And to think that in our country
they read, that they receive as good mer-
chandise and accept as if they were dramas
those farces of boudoirs — and that thev
take them so seriously! In that way the
difference between the honest woman and
the fast woman diminishes; and the right
On the Sunny Shore. 37
of citizenship is given to cuckoos which
do not have their own nests. Then such
a French gilding is put on our dolls, and
they do anything under the flag of such
authors! In such books there are neither
principles, characters, sentiment of duty,
nor moral sense — nothing but false aspi-
rations — a psychological conundrum !'*
Wiadrowski was too intelligent not to
understand that in talking in that way he
was throwing a stone at Pani Elzen; but
he was a thoroughly malicious man, and
he spoke thus on purpose. Pani Elzen
listened to his words with considerable
dissatisfaction, although there was much
truth in his speech. Swirski was anxious
to answer him sharply, but he understood
it would not be proper to take Wiadrow-
ski's words as if he had referred to some
one personally; therefore he preferred to
take up the whole matter from another
point of view.
38 On the Sunny Shore.
"As for me/' said he, "I have noticed
that in French novels all women are
sterile. Elsewhere, when two people are
in love, in a legitimate or illegitimate way,
the consequence of the love is a child, but
here nobody has children. How strange
it is! Because those gentlemen who write
the novels think that the love can remain
"Such society! such literature!'* an-
swered old Kladzki. " It is known that
the population is diminishing in France.
Among the higher classes a child is
''Mais c'est plus commode et plus ele-
gant/' said Sinten.
But Kresowicz, who had before sneered,
" It's the literature of slothful people,
and it must perish with them."
"What do you say?" asked Sinten.
The student turned his passionate face
On the Sunny Shore. 39
to him: *' I say if s the literature of sloth-
^' Every class of people has its duty and
its pleasures," said he. *' I have two pas-
sions — ^politics and photography.'*
The dinner was almost ended, and a
quarter of an hour later they all passed to
the little salon, where the coffee was
served. Pani Elzen lighted a thin cigar-
ette, and leaning comfortably in an arm-
chair, crossed her feet. It seemed to her
that a certain nonchalance ought to please
Swirski, who was an artist and a Bohe-
But as she was comparatively short
and had large hips, in the act of crossing
her feet her dress was raised too high.
Young Kladzki immediately dropped a
match and began to search on the floor,
and he continued looking for it so long
that his uncle was obliged to whisper to
40 On the Sunny Shore.
"What do you imagine? Where are
And the young nobleman stretched him-
self and whispered back:
"That's the trouble. I don't know
where I am."
Pani Elzen knew by experience that
even well-bred men, when they have the
smallest opportunity, become rough, espe-
cially in the presence of women without
protection. This time, it is true, she did
not see young Kladzki's movement, but
having noticed the disdainful and almost
cynical smile with which he answered his
uncle, she was sure he was talking about
her. And she felt a contempt for all the
company, with the exception of Swirski
and Kresowicz, whom she suspected of
being in love with her, notwithstanding
his hatred for the women of her social
rank. But she almost had an attack of
hysterics that evening on account of Wia-
On the Sunny Shore. 41
drowski's talk^ because it seemed that he
wished to poison her every spoonful of cof-
fee in exchange for her good dinner. He
spoke generally and apparently objectively
about women^ not overstepping the limits
of decency, bat at the bottom of his talk
there was not only cynicism but also plenty
of allusions to Pani Elzen's character and
her social standing — and those allusions
were oflfensive and very unpleasant, espe-
cially in Swirski's presence, who suflfered
very much on account of it.
Therefore a load fell from her heart
when finally the guests departed and the
painter alone remained.
"Ah!" she exclaimed, breathing deeply,
"I feel the beginning of a headache, and
I don^t know what is the matter with
" Have they tired you?"
" Yes, yes — more than tired!*'
" Why do you invite them?"
42 On the Sunny Shore.
And, as if she could not control her
nerves, she approached him feverishly:
'* Sit down and do not move! I don't
know — perhaps you will think ill of me,
but I need it like medicine. That way!
To remain that way with an honest man!
Having said this she sat beside him, put
her head on his shoulder, and closed her
"Yes, only a moment that way! only a
Suddenly her eyelids were moistened
with tears, but she pressed Swirski's lips
with her finger, in order to prevent him
from speaking and in order to remain
His heart throbbed, being always as soft
as wax when he saw a woman crying. He
was pleased with the confidence she placed
\n hiin. He understood that the decisive
On the Sunny Shore. 43
moment had come; therefore, encircling
her waist with his arm, he said:
" Remain with me forever; give me the
right over you."
Pani Elzen did not answer; only from
her eyes fell big, quiet tears.
"Be minel" repeated Swirski.
Then she threw her hand on his other
shoulder and nestled to him as a child
nestles to its mother.
And Swirski, having bent, kissed her
forehead; then he began to wipe her tears
with kisses, and gradually the flame was
seizing him; after awhile he took her in
his arms, pressed her to his breast, and
touched her mouth .with his lips.
But she defended herself.
*'No! no r* she said breathlessly, "yon
are not like the others. No! no! Have
Swirski held her in his arms; in that
moment be was ejcactljr lij^e the others,
44 On the Sunny Shore.
bat happily for Pani Elzen a soft knocking
at the door was heard.
They separated immediately, jumping in
" Who is there?'' asked Pani Elzen im-
Kresowicz's gloomy face appeared in the
'' Excuse me/' said he with trembling
voice, " Romulus is coughing, and I am
afraid he has the fever. I thought it
would be proper to let you know aboat it."
'' Shall I go for a doctor?"
But Pani Elzen had already recovered
''Thank you," said she; "if it be nec-
essary we can send some oue from the
hotel; but first I must see the child.
Thank you! I must be going. There-
fore, until to-morrow, thank you!"i
Having said this, she stretched toward
On the Sunny Shore. 45
him her hand, which Swirski raised to his
"Until to-morrow and every day, au
Pani Elzen, having remained with
Kresowicz, looked at him inquiringly.
" What is the matter with Romulus?''
He became still paler, and answered
" What do you mean?'' asked she, frown-
*' It means that you must chase me out,
because I will become mad!"
And he went out.
Pani Elzen stood for awhile with the
liglitning of anger in her eyes and with
frowning eyebrows, but gradually her
forehead became smooth. In fact, she
was thirty-five years old, and here was a
new proof that until now nobody could
resist her charms.
On the Sunny Shore.
After awhile she approached the mirror
as if looking for an affirmation of that
In the meanwhile Swirski was returning
to Nice in an empty railroad car, contin-
ually raising to his face his hands, which
were scented with heliotrope. He felt
uneasy, though happy, and the blood
rushed to his head when he smelled Pani
Elzen's favorite perfume.
On the Sunny Shore. 47
The next day, however, when he awak-
ened his head was heavy, as if he had spent
the night in drinking; and there waj3 a great
uneasiness in his heart. When daylight
falls upon the theatrical scenery, then that
which during the evening looked enchant-
ing appears to be a daub. The same hap-
pens in life. Swirski had not met with
anything unexpected, lie knew that he
was drifting toward what happened the
preceding night and that he must eventu-
ally reacli it, but now when everything
was ended, an incomprehensible fear seized
him. He thought yesterday that he could
retreat, but now it was too late. In vain
he repeated to himself that there was no
48 On the Sunny Shore.
time for reasoning. Different objections,
which he had made to himself, to Pani
Elzen, and especially to marriage with
her, returned to his mind with increased
force. The voice which before whispered
constantly into his ear, " DonH be an ass!'*
now began to shout, "You are an ass!"
And he could silence it neither by argu-
ments nor by repeating "It is done!"
because common sense said to him that a
stupid thing had been done, and the cause
of it was his feebleness.
And at this thought he was ashamed.
Were he a youngster he could excuse him-
self by youth; had he just met this lady
on the Biviera, and heard nothing about
her, he would be justified, for he would not
have known her character and her heart.
It is true he had seen her seldom, but he
had heard enough about her, because in
Warsaw they talked about her more than
about anybody else. They called her
On the Sunny Shore. 40
'* Wonder - wife/* and the local gossips
used to sharpen their witty tongues on her
as a knife is sharpened on a stone^ which,
however, did not stop the men from crowd-
ing her drawing-room. The women, al-
though more hostile toward her, received
her also, on account of numerous relation-
ships by which she was bound to society
people. Some of them, especially those
who were interested that public opinion
should not be too severe, even defended
the beautiful widow. Others, less indul-
gent, did not dare to close the door against
her, because they did not wish to be the
first in doing it. A certain local play-
writer, hearing some one calling Pani
Elzen a ^* demi-monde,'' said that she was
neither '*the whole world nor half a
world, but rather three-quarters of an hour
into the world." But as in larger cities
everything smoothes, therefore Pani El-
zen's situation was smoothed also. Her
60 On the Sunny Shore.
friends used to say: ^*It's tme that one
cannot ask from Helena extraordinary
virtues, but she has her good sides/' And
unknowingly they granted her the right
to be more free than the others. Some-
times they mentioned that before her hus-
band's death she had not lived with him
for several years; sometimes they muttered
that she was bringing up Bomulus and
Semus to be clowns, or that she did not
care about them at all; were Pani Elzen
less beautiful and less rich nobody would
have paid any attention to sach malicious
remarks. But the men did not restrain
themselves in tlieir conversation about
her. Even those who were in love with
her attacked her through jealousy; the
only silent one was he who appeared to be
more lucky than the others. In general,
however, the malignity went so far that
they said that Pani Helena had one lover
for her sojourn in the city during the
On the Sunny Shore. 51
winter and another for the summer sea-
son. Swirski knew about all this. He
knew even more than others, because a
certain Mrs. Bronish, with whom he was
acquainted in Warsaw, being a good friend
of the beautiful widow, told him about
some serious accident to Pani Elzen which
terminated by a long illness. '^ God only
knows how terribly poor Helena suffered,
and it must be that in mercy it came
beforehand, in order to preserve her from
greater moral sufferings!" It is true that
Swirski supposed that this "serious acci-
dent " was purely a lie, but at any rate it
waj3 impossible for him to have any illu-
sions about Pani Elzen, or at least he
could not believe she was the woman to
whom one could safely trust one's hap-
Just the same, all this news excited his
curiosity and attracted him toward her.
Having heard about her sojourn in Monte
52 On the Sunny Shore.
Carlo^ he wished to meet her and know
her better. As an artist he wished also to
see for himself the charm by which this
woman^ so generally slandered, bewitched
In the beginning he experienced only
disillusion. She was beantiful and sensn-
ally attractive, but he noticed that she
was lacking in kindness and good will
toward the people. The men interested
her only so far as they stood in some rela-
tion to her — were necessary to her. Beyond
that she was as indifferent as a stone.
Swirski did not notice in her any admira-
tion for intellectual life, for literature, for
art. She took from it what was necessary
for her, giving nothing reciprocally. And
he, as an artist and a thinking man, un-
derstood perfectly that such a state of the
soul betrays a barbarous and gross nature,
notwithstanding all refined appearances.
He had known such women before. He
On the Sunny Shore. 53
knew that they dominated the people by
a certain strength, produced by determina-
tion and a large, absolute egotism. About
such beings they said very often when he
was present: " She is cold but intelligent. ''
But he always thought of such women
with disdain. According to his judgment
they were a species destitute of higher
spiritual culture, and even common sense,
because the common sense which
wants everything for itself and does
not grant anything to others the animals
possess also. Equally in Pani Elzen, as
well as in Bomulus and Semus, he saw the
type in which culture begins and ends
with the skin, leaving untouched the ple-
beian and rougher depths. Besides that he
was shocked by her cosmopolitanism. In
fact, she was like a worn-out piece of
money — it was difficult to distinguish to
what country she belonged; Swirski was
disgusted with it, not only because he
54 On the Sunny Shore.
looked differently on that question, but
also as a man who was acquainted with
really good society and knew that the best
people in England, France, or Italy looked
with disdain on those Nicean-cosmopolite
weeds without roots.
Wiadrowski was right in saying that
Eomulus and Kemus were brought up as
traveling salesmen or porters in big hotels.
It was a well-known fact that Pani Elzen's
father had a title, but that her grand-
father was an overseer, and it appeared to
Swirski, who possessed an appreciation of
the ridiculous in a high degree, perfectly
comical that the grandsons of an overseer
not only did not speak good Polish, but
imitated Parisians, and did not pronounc©
the letter "r.** They were good-looking
boys, even very good looking. Swirski,
however, felt with his fine artistic sense
that in those two bird-like skulls and bird-
like faces the beauty was not something
On the Sunny Shore. 55
inherited for generations, but something
accidental, some physiological accident, in
consequence of being twins. And he re-
peated to himself in vain that their mother
was also beautiful: a sentiment always
remained in him that the beauty did
not belong either to the mother or to
the sons, and that they were parvenus
pecuniarily as well as morally and phys-
ically. But longer contact with them
weakened those impressions.
Pani Elzen from the beginning of their
acquaintance began to be attracted toward
him and to favor him. He was worth
more than her other acquaintances, he had
a good name, he was rich and famous.
It is true, he was not young, but Pani
Elzen was thirty-five; besides that, his
herculean stature couid replace his youth.
Finally, to marry him meant to the woman
about whom people talked sneeringly, the
recovery of honor and moral position.
56 On the Sunny Shore.
True enoagh, she could see that it would
be difScuIt to capture him, but she knew
that he was good, and, like every artist,
had a certain amount of naivete at the
bottom of his soul; therefore Pani Elzen
calculated that she would be able to bend
him toward her. And she was guided
not only by pure calculation: in a measure
he let himself be attracted; he attracted
her also. Finally she began to persuade
herself that she was in love with him — she
even believed it.
And with him happened that which
happens to many intelligent men. His
common sense ended the moment the
senses began to talk, or worse still, he went
into their service, and instead of fighting
them he was obliged to furnish them with
arguments. In that way Swirski, who
knew and understood everything, began to
justify, soften, explain, defend.
'* It's true," he said to himself, " that
On the Sunny Shore. 57
neither her nature nor her conduct until
now has given any guarantee, but who
will prove to me that she is not tired of
that life and that she is not longing of
her whole soul after the other life?
Without any doubt, in her conduct there
is much coquetry, but who will guarantee
that she does not display this coquetry
because she loves me sincerely? It is
childishness to imagine that a womau,
although full of errors, does not possess
any good qualities. Ah! the human
soul — what a mixture! Only opportun-
ities are necessary that the good may be
developed and the bad disappear. Pani
Elzen was no longer young. How
stupid it would be to admit that there is
no voice in her asking for a virtuous,
quiet life, for peace, for tranquillity!
Precisely on account of these reasons
such a woman may appreciate an honest
man who guarantees her all this.'^
68 On the Sunny Shore.
Especially this last appeared to him very
just and deep. Previously common sense
had told him that Pani Elzen wished to
catch him, but he answered now : '* She is
right, because of every one, even the
most ideal woman, who wishes to unite
with a beloved man, one might say that
she wishes to catch him!"
The hope of having children tranquil-
lized him in regard to the future. He
thought that then she would love some
one, and she would be obliged to break
with the worldly, empty life, because she
would not have time — and before the chil-
dren would have grown up her youth
would have passed, and then home would
attract her more than the world. Finallv
he said to himself: "The life must be
arranged before old age comes; I will live
a few years with a beautiful, interesting
woman, with whom every day will be to
me a holiday.'^
On the Sunny Shore. 59
And those "few years '* were in fact the
principal attraction for him. It is true
to Pani Elzen there was something hu-
miliating in the fact that he was not afraid
of any extraordinary event, for the reason
that she was no longer young, and there-
fore the possibility would soon pass away.
But he did not admit to himself that pre-
cisely that thought was the foundation of
his hope — and he deceived himself, as peo-
ple always do in whom the common sense
becomes the servant of the passions.
But the man, after the previous night^s
events, awakened with an uneasiness and
disgust. He could not resist thinking
about two things: In the first place, that
if some one had told him a month before
that he would propose to Pani Elzen, he
would look on him as an ass; then, that
the charm of the relation with her, and
which consisted in uncertainty, in mutual
guessing of looks and thoughts, in unfin-
60 On the Sunny Shore.
ished words, in suspended avowals and
reciprocal attraction, was stronger than
the one which was the consequence of the
present change. It was more agreeable to
Swirski to anticipate the betrothal than to
become affianced, and just now he was
thinking that if his pleasure in becoming
a husband should become less in the same
proportion as the pleasure of being affi-
anced had diminished, then the deuce
take such a life! There were moments in
which the thought that he was bound, and
that, willing or not willing, he would be
obliged to take in his boat of life Pani
Elzen, with Bomulus and Bemus, appeared
to him almost unbearable. In those mo-
ments, being a loyal man, he did not curse
Pani Elzen, but he cursed Bomulus and
Bemus — their rolling of the letter **r,"
their bird-like, narrow heads and bird-like
*'I had my sorrows, but in fact I was
On the Sunny Shore. 61
free as a bird, and could put my whole
soul into the pictures/* he said so himself,
"and now the devil knows how it will
Here the sorrows of the painter spoiled
his humor altogether, altliough they gave
another direction to his thoughts. Pani
Elzen and the whole matrimonial affair
began to retreat to the background, and
the picture, "Dream and Death,'* came
out to the foreground. He had been
painting this picture for several months,
and he considered it of great importance,
because he proposed by it to protest against
the generally accepted idea of death. Often
in conversation with his friends Swirski
was vehement against the Cliristianity
which introduced the skeleton into life
and art as a representation of death. To
Swirski it appeared outrageous. The
Greeks imagined Thanatos as a genius with
wings, and they were right. What can be
62 On the Sunny Shore.
more ngly and more frightful than a skele-
ton? Christians^ at leasts who in death see
the gate to a new life, ought not to have
painted it that way. According to Swir-
ski this idea was born of the gloomy Ger-
man spirit, the same which developed the
majestic, grand, gothic style, but which
is so gloomy, as if the church was not a
passage to the light of heaven, but to sub-
terraneous and hopeless precipices. Swir-
ski was astonished that the renaissance had
not reformed the symbol of death. If
death were not an eternal silence, and would
like to complain, it would say: " Why do
people represent me by the figure of a
skeleton? The skeleton is precisely the
thing for which I do not wish and which
I do not leave." Therefore in Swirski's
picture the genius of sleep was gently
offering the body of a girl to the genius of
death, who, bending over her, blew
out softly the flame of a small Lirap burn-
On the Sunny Shore. 63
ing above her head. Swirski while
painting repeated to himself: '*It is neces-
sary that the man who looks at it should
say to himself before all: 'Ah! how quiet
it is!^ " And he wanted this silence to flow
on the spectator from the lines, from the
figure, from the expression, from the col-
oring. He thought also that if he could
be able to produce this impression, and if
the picture could explain itself, it would
become a new and remarkable work.
He cared about something more. Fol-
lowing the stream of time, he agreed that
painting must avoid literary ideas; he un-
derstood, however, that there is a great dif-
ference between giving up literary ideas and
thoughtless reproduction of the exterior
world as a photographic plate reproduces
it. Shape, color, spot — nothing more!
— as if the duty of a painter were to kill
in himself the thinking being! And he
remembered that every time he saw.
64 On the Sunnv Shore.
for instance, the pictures of the English
painters, he was struck before all with the
high intellectual level of those artists.
One could see from their canvases that
they were masters of high spiritual culture,
very much developed psychically, think-
ing deeply, often great students. In Poles
he had seen something quite different.
With the exception of several the majority
of them were capable men, but thought-
less, very little developed, and bare of
education. They lived on old doctrinarian
crumbs falling from French tables, not
admitting for a moment that one can say
anything original about art, to create it
in the Polish way. It was clear to Swirski
that the doctrine allowing them lack of
thought was welcome to them. To be
called an artist, but in the meanwhile to
be a clown as far as it concerns the spirit,
was a very comfortable thing. To read.
On the Sunny Shore. 65
to know, to think — ^to the deuce with such
Swirski believed that if even a landscape
is a state of the soul, it is necessary that
this soul should be not a soul of a peasant,
but subtile, impressive, developed, worked
out. He quarreled about that with his
comrades and discussed passionately. ^^ I
don^t ask from you," shouted he, " that
you paint as well as do Frenchmen, Eng-
lishmen, or Spaniards. I want you to
paint better! before all, in your own way.
And the one who does not strive for that
ought to become a shoemaker!'*
And he tried to prove that it does not
matter if a picture represents a stack of
hay, or hens scratching in the barnyard,
or potatoes in the field, or horses in
the pasture, or a corner of still water in a
pond, the principal thing dominating
everything in it must be the soul. There-
fore in his portraits he tried to put as
66 On the Sunny Shore.
much of his soul as he could; besides this
he expressed himself in other pictures, the
last of them being " Hypnos and Thana-
The two genii were almost finished,
but there were some diflBculties with the
girl's head. Swirski understood that she
must not only be beautiful but full of in-
dividuality. There were plenty of pretty
models, but they did not possess enough
personality. It is true that Mme. Lageat,
from whom he rented his studio, promised
him to search for a good model, but she
was very slow. A now model promised to
come this morning, but had not put in an
appearance, although it was already half-
All this, with last night's matrimonial
proposition, was the reason that Swirski
began to be disturbed, not only about his
peace of mind, but also about his artistic
future in general, and about his picture in
On the Sunny Shore. 67
particnlar. At that moment Hypnos ap-
peared to him heavy, Thanatos stupid.
Finally he said to himself that, as long as
he was unable to work, it would be better
to go to the shore, where the view of the
water and the sun would brighten his
thoughts and soul.
But just at that moment, when he was
ready to go out, the bell was heard in the
antechamber, then two Scotch tartans,
two bangs, and the two bird-like heads of
Romulus and Remus appeared in his
studio. Kresowicz, paler and gloomier
than ever, followed them.
"Good-morning, sir! Good-morning,
sir!" shouted both boys. "Maman sent
you these roses and begs you to come to
Then they began to run and look round
the studio. They were very much sur-
prised at the nude sketches; they stopped
before them and elbowed each other.
68 On the Sunny Shore.
It made Swirski angry^ and he said,
looking at his watch:
"We must be going if we wish to have
He took his hat and they went out. As
there were no carriages near the studio
they walked. While walking the artist
"Well, how are your pupils 1^'
Kresowicz turned to him, his ironical
face full of hatred, and answered:
" My pupils? They are all right. They
are as healthy as fish, and their Scotch
dresses are becoming to them. But I don't
care about them.''
"Because I am going to leave them
"What is the matter?" asked Swirski,
On the Sunny Shore. 69
with some astonishment. ^^I did not
know. It^s a pity!"
" Not for them/' answered Kresowicz.
"It must be for the reason that they
cannot understand it."
" They never will be able to understand
— neither to-day nor any other time!
" I hope time will prove that you are
mistaken/' answered Swirski dryly. "At
any rate, I am sorry to hear it."
But the student went on about himself,
" Yes, it's a pity, but it's a pity to waste
the time. They don't. need me, and I
don't need them. They will be such as
they will bo. The person who wishes to
sow wheat must plow the soil, and the
poorer it is the easier to plow it. One
could say much about it, but it's not worth
while, especially for me. Microbes will
eat me up just the same."
"You were never threatened with con-
70 On the Sunny Shore.
Bumption? Pani Elzen asked a doctor
abont your healthy and he assared her that
there was no danger/^
^' To be sure, there is no danger. And
then 1 discovered a sare remedy against
"What remedy have you discovered?"
"It will be published in the papers.
Such discoveries one does not hide under
Swirski looked at Eresowicz as if he
wished to ascertain whether he had a fever;
at the same time they arrived at the station
which was swarming with people.
The Nicean guests were going in the
morning, as usual, to Monte Carlo. While
Swirski was purchasing the tickets Wia-
drowski perceived and approached him.
" Good-morning!" said he. " To Monte
" Yes. Have you your ticket already ?"
" I have a season ticket. We will be
On the Sunny Shore. 71
crowded in the train. It^s a true exodns
isn't it? And everybody carries the wid-
ow's mite. Good-moming, Mr. Kreso-
wicz. What do you say about life here?
Make some remark from the point of view
of your party."
Eresowicz began to blink his eyes as if
he could not understand what they wanted
from him; then he said:
"I have joined the party of silent
"I know, I know! Splendid party!
The company is either silent or it ex-
And he began to laugh.
The bell for departure had rung and
they were obliged to hasten. The shout-
ing: '^En voiture I En voiture .'" sounded.
In a moment Swirski, Kresowicz, Wia-
drowski, and the two boys were in the
" Look !" said Wiadrowski. *' We can't
On the Sunny Shore.
even dream abont a seat. A true immi-
In fact, there was a great crowd of every
nationality: Poles, Russians, Englishmen,
Frenchmen, Germans — all were going to
conquer the bank, which every day re-
pulsed and broke these crowds, as a rock
breaks the waves of the sea. There were
also numerous women scented with helio-
trope. The sun lighted the artificial
flowers on their hats, velvet, lace, artificial
or real jewels, objects shining like polished
armor on round bosoms, blackened eye-
brows, faces covered with powder and
animated by the hope of enjoyment and
gambling. The most experienced eye was
not able to distinguish the fast women
from the society women. The men, with
violets in their buttonholes, looked at
those women inquisitively and imperti-
nently, inspecting dresses, shoulders, faces,
and hips with as cold blood as one looks
On the Sunny Shore. 73
on the things exhibited for sale in the
shop windows. In this crowd there was
haste and disorder. At certain moments
the train rushed into the darkness of the
tunnel; then again the snnlight^ the sky,
the sea^ the palms^ the olive trees^ the
villas shone m the windows^ and a
moment after the darkness again
covered everything. The stations passed
one after another. New crowds of people
squeezed into the train. They were ele-
gantly dressed, refined, as if they were
rushing to some great and joyful festival.
''What a true picture of life!^' said Wi-
''What is a true picture?"
"The train — I could philosophize about
it until luncheon, but as I prefer to phi-
losophize after luncheon, perhaps you will
be willing to eat it with me."
"No/' said Swirski, "you must excuse
me; I am invited by Pani Elzen."
74 On the Sunny Shore.
" In that case I retreat!"
And he began to langh. The thonght
that Swirski might marry Pani Elzen did
not enter his mind even for a moment.
He was sure that the painter only cared
for her the same as the others did^ but
being a great admirer of artists in general
and Swirski in particular, he was pleased
that he was ahead of his competitors in
^'I represent the wealth," he was think-
ing. '^Porzecki title, the young Kladz-
ki the youth, and Sinten the world of
fashionable stupid chaps. All that, espe-
cially here, carries a great weight, and
the Dame aux Camelias has chosen him.
At any rate, she has fine taste."
And looking at the painter he began
*^ Jo iriumphe, tu moraris aureos
*' What do you say?" asked Swirski, who
On the Sunny Shore. 75
did not hear well on account of the noise
of the train.
" Nothing. Some hiccoughs from Ho-
ratius. I saj^ as you refuse^ I will give a
consolation luncheon to myself^ De Sin-
ten, Porzecki, and Kladzki.*'
" May I ask you for what you wish to be
consoled?'^ asked Swii*ski^ approaching
swiftly and looking into his eyes almost
" For the loss of your company," coolly
answered Wiadrowski. *'And what did
you suppose, my dear sir?"
Swirski bit his lips and said nothing.
But he thought that the proverb, '^The
cap always burns on the head of a thief,"
was right — because if he were going to
marry an honest girl he never would sup-
pose that any one speaking ironically was
thinking about her.
When they arrived, Pani Elzen, fresh,
young and beautiful, was waiting at the
76 On the Sunny Shore.
station. Evidently she had just come^ be-
cause she breathed deeply and her face was
flushed as with emotion. Therefore, when
she stretched both her hands to Swirski,
'^ Yes! he has beaten us all. She looks
to be really in love.*' And he looked on
her almost with sympathy. In a white
flannel dress, with shining eyes, she seemed
to him, notwithstanding some powder on
her face, as young and charming as ever.
For awhile he regretted he was not that
happy mortal whom she came to greet;
and he thought that the method by which
he had tried to gain her favor, consisting
in telling her hard things, was stupid. But
he consoled himself with the thought that
he could laugh at Sinten and others who
After the greeting Swirski thanked her
for the roses, but she was listening with
some embarrassment, looking from time
On the Sunny Shore. 77
to time at Wiadrowski, as if she were
ashamed that he heard those thanks.
As for him, he understood that it would
be best for him at present to leave
them. But they went together in the lift
to the heights on which the gambling
house and the gardens are situated. On
the way Pani Elzen entirely regained her
*'Letus have luncheon! Let us have
luncheon!" she said joyfully. ^' I have an
appetite like a whale."
Wiadrowski muttered that he would
like to be Jonah, but he did not say it
aloud, thinking that Swirski might
seize him by the collar of his coat and
throw him from the lift, as the joke de-
In the garden he took leave of them and
departed; but looking backward he
perceived Pani Elzen leaning on Swirski^s
arm and whispering something to him.
78 On the Sunny Shore.
^' They are speaking about dessert after
the breakfast!'^ thought he.
But he was mistaken^ because she^ turn-
ing her charming face toward the painter,
"Does Wiadrowski know?"
"No," answered Swirski, "I only met
him in the train."
Having said this, he felt some uneasi-
ness that Pani Elzen is speaking about
betrothals, and that it would be necessary
to tell everybody about it, but in the mean-
while her beauty and charms began to act
upon him in such a way that he became
They had luncheon together with Rom-
ulus, Remus, and Kresowicz, who during
the whole time did not say a word. After
the coffee Pani Elzen gave the boys per-
mission to go witli the young man in the
direction of Rocca Brune, and then she
On the Sunny Shore. 79
" Do you prefer to take a walk or ride?'*
He would prefer to go to her apartment
and pause there at least ''halfway to
paradise*' — and obtain "at least half -sal-
vation '' — but he thought that if she did
not wish it it was the best proof of how
earnestly and nobly she looked on their
relation, and that he ought to be grateful
^' If you are not tired I prefer to walk/^
*'Very well. I am not tired at all.
But where shall we go? Would you like
to look at the pigeon shooting?"
'* Willingly. But there we will not be
alone. I am sure Sinten and young
Kladzki are practicing after breakfast."
"Yes, but they will not bother us.
When there is a question about pigeons
they become blind and deaf to everything
around them. And then let them see me
with my great man!"
On the Sunny Shore.
And bending her head she looked into
his eyes, smiling.
" But perhaps the great man does not
"On the contrary, let them see us!^'
answered Swirski, raising her hand to his
** Let us go, then. I like to look at it."
And in a moment they were on the large
stairs leading to the shooting club.
" What a light here, and liow happy I
am!" said Pani Elzen.
Then, although there was nobody there,
she asked liim in a whisper:
"My light is with me!" answered he,
pressing her arm to his breast.
And tliey began to descend. In fact
the day seemed to be brighter than ever;
the air was golden and blae; the sea in the
distance looked like lapis lazuli.
On the Sunny Shore, 81
" Let us stop here/' said Pani Elzen.
** From here we can see the cages/^
Under their feet stretched a large
green lawn, running out to the sea. The
cages with pigeons were disposed on it in
a half -circle. Each moment one of
them opened suddenly,*the frightened bird
flew, then the shot resounded, and the
pigeon fell either on the grass or into the
sea, where on the waves small boats with
fishermen were expectantly waiting for the
It sometimes happened, however, that
the pigeon was missed; then he flew to-
ward the sea, and, having made a circle,
returned, looking for shelter in the cor-
nices of the Casino.
" From here we don'tgsee who shoots,"
mirthfully said Pani Elzen; "therefore
let us tell our fortune: If the first pigeon
falls down we remain in Monte Carlo; if
he flies away we will go to Italy."
82 On the Sunny Shore.
'^So be it/^ said Swirski. ''Let us
look! There he isV
In fact the cage was opened^ and*at that
moment the pigeon^ as if stunned^ re-
mained on the spot. They forced him
to fly, by rolling on the grass toward
him a wooden ball, and then the shot was
heard. But the bird did not fall imme-
diately. In the first place he had risen
very high in the air, then he flew directly
to the sea, coming down gradually, as if
wounded. Finally he disappeared in the
blaze of the sun.
" Maybe he fell down, maybe not. The
future is uncertain,'* said Swirski, laugh-
But Pani Elzen moved her lips like an
'* It's this horrid Sinten," said she. *' I
bet it was he. Let us go down.'*
And they descended nearer and nearer
to the shooting gallery. Pani Elzen
On the Sunnj^ Shore. 83
stopped at every shot. In her white dress,
on the background of green she looked
like a statne.
"There is no other material which
makes as pretty drapery as flannel/' said
"Ah, those artists !'' answered the young
And in her voice there was some irony,
for she felt offended that at that moment
Swirski should be thinking about dra-
peries and different fabrics instead of her.
"Let us be going!'*
A few moments later they were in the
shooting gallery. Of their acquaintances
only Sinten was there, shooting with some
Hungarian count, both dressed in brown
English coats, with caps of the same color,
Scotch stockings, both very distinguts
and with faces as expressive as that of a
stupid ass. But it was as Pani Elzen said
— Sinten was so busy shooting that he did
84 On the Sunny Shore.
not notice them at once^ and only after a
long wait did he come to greet them.
'*How is your luck?'* asked the lady.
" I shall beat! I am sure I will win.^'
Hero he turned to Swirski: *' Don't you
"I do, but not to-day.''
''As for me/' answered Sin ten, looking
significantly at Pani Elzen, " I am to-day
They called him to the shooting.
" He wanted to say that he was unhappy
in love," said Swirski.
'' Imbecile! Could it be diflferent?"
But notwithstanding those words of
censure, one could see by the face of the
beautiful lady that she was not offended,
that in Swirski's presence they gave testi-
mony to her personal popularity.
It was not the last testimony that day.
''I wished to ask you about something,"
said Swirski after a short silence, '' but I
On the Sunny Shore. 85
could not do it in the presence of the
children and Kresowicz, who told me that
he was going to leave. Is it true?'*
*' It's true/' answered Pani Elzen. '* In
the first place^ I am not sure of his health.
A few days ago I made him go to see the
doctor, who informed me that he was not
threatened with consumption; otherwise
I wouldn't' keep him an hour; but at
any rate he looks worse every day; ho is
whimsical, irritable, often unbearable.
That's the first reason; then you know his
tendencies — I know they will not stick to
Romulus and Remus. I bring up the boys
in such a way that they would not care for
the ideas of the red party. But I don't
wish them even to know that such
principles exist — that they meet such
hatred toward the class of people
among whom they live. It was suflScicnt
for me that you wished them to speak
with somebody in their own language. It
On the Sunny Shore.
was for me almost a command. I under-
stand that they ought to know their own
language. Now the people are insisting
upon it, and I agree they are right. But
even in that Kresowicz is opinionated. *'
"I shall miss him! Around the eyes
he has certain wrinkles which signify
fanaticism; but his is an interesting face
though he is a very peculiar man.^'
''The painter is talking through yon
again/' said Pani Elzen, laughing.
But after awhile she became sober and
even somewhat embarrassed.
''I have one reason more/' said she.
''It's unpleasant to speak about, but I
must tell you, because with whom should
I be sincere if not with my — ^great man —
who is so dear and good, who is able to be
indulgent in everything? Well, then, I
noticed that Kresowicz lost his head and
fell in love with me, and under those cir-
cumstances he couldn't remain near me/'
On the Sunny Shore. 87
"What? This one also?" exclaimed
*'Yes!" answered she, dropping her
And she tried to simulate that this con-
fession was unpleasant for her, but all the
same, as at Sinten's words a smile of satis-
fied self-love and womanly vanity passed
over her face. Swirski noticed it, and an
unpleasant, angry feeliug filled his heart.
** Then I am also struck by the epidem-
ic," said he.
She looked at him for awhile and then
" Was that said by a jealous or an un-
But the painter answered evasively:
"You are right. Kresowicz ought to
"I will pay him to-day."
Then they were silent. Sinten and the
Hungarian count's shooting was heard.
88 On the Sunny Shore.
Swirski, however, could not pardon
that smile he had noticed. "It is true,"
he said to himself, "that Pani Elzen acted
with Kresowicz as she ought to, and that
there is no reason to be irritated." But
he was irritated just the same. Some
time ago, at the beginning of their ac-
quaintance, he had seen her riding on
horseback; she was in the lead, followed by
Sinten, Kladzki, Porzecki, Wilkisbey, and
Waxford. This cavalcade made a very
bad impression on Swirski, an impression
of a kind of beastly run of males after a
female. The same picture now stood in
his memory, and his impressionable artistic
nature suffered considerably. " Precisely
speaking," he said to himself, " everybody
runs after her, and in case I fall over some
obstacle she will be reached by the next
Pani Elzen interrupted his reflections;
she complained that she was cold there in
On the Sunny Shore. 89
tho shadow, and said that she wished to
warm herself in the sun.
" Let us go to the hotel — you can take
your jacket," said he.
They started on their return to the upper
terrace, but when halfway on the stairs
she stopped suddenly.
" You are not satisfied with me," said
she. ^^ Of what am I guilty? What have
I done to displease you?^'
Swirski had become quieter while walk-
ing, and answered:
'^You must excuse an old crank. I
beg your pardon."
Pani Elzen wanted to know by all means
why he was sad, but she could not make
him talk. Then, half-seriously and half-
jokingly, she began to complain against
artists. What a strange and unbearable
people they are I — shocked by any trifle, they
shut their impressions within themselves,
90 On the Sunny Shore.
and then escape to their solitary studios.
To-day three times she noticed the painter
in him. Thafsbad! Therefore, for a pun-
ishment, this unbearable painter must
stay with her until evening for dinner.
But Swirski said that he must return to
Nice; then he spoke to her about his trou-
bles as an artist, about difficulties in find-
ing a model for *' Dream and Death,''
and about the hope of success he had in
"I see,'* answered the young widow,
smiling, ^^ that I shall always have a fright-
ful rival in art.'*
*' It's not the rival," answered Swirski.
" If s God, whom you will serve with me."
The pretty lady frowned at that, but in
the meanwhile they arrived at the hotel.
That day Swirski went three-thirds of the
way to paradise, and left his pretty widow
with shivers of delight in his bones, but
On the Sunn}' Shore. 91
with conviction that only matrimony wonld
open the gate.
His brain having cooled^ he was grateful
to Pani Elzen; she inspired him with such
On the Sunny Shore.
Pani Elzen, before she began to dress
for dinner, called Kresowicz in order to
pay him, which she did with a certain
curiosity, anxious to know how he would
bid her good-by. She had seen so many
commonplace people, who appeared as if
cut by the same tailor according to the
same measure, that this odd young
fellow excited her curiosity; and now,
when he was about to depart with bleeding
heart, he interested her a great deal more.
She was sure that his passion would be
shown in some way, and she even wished
for it, promising to herself, not very sin-
cerely, however, to stop it with a look or
word, if he should overstep certain bounds.
On the Sunny Shore. 93
But Kresowicz when he entered her
room was cold and threatening, and his
face was other than that of a person enam-
oured. Pani Elzen, having glanced at
him, thought that Swirski, being an artist,
was right in having noticed that head,
which really had something exceptional
in its expression. Its lines were iron-like,
in which the will was stronger than the
intelligence, giving to them in a certain
degree a stubborn expression. Swirski
had noticed for a long time that he was
one of those men who, if they seize some
idea, their faith will never be disturbed by
skepticism, and never a doubt will shake
their ability for action, because with a
stubborn and strong character goes a cer-
tain narrowness of the mind. Fanaticism
grows only on such a field. Pani Elzen,
nothwithstanding her cleverness, was too
superficial to be able to recognize that.
Kresowicz would have attracted her atten-
94 On the Sunny Shore.
tion if he were an exceptionally good-
looking boy, but as he was not, therefore
in the beginning she treated him like an
ordinary object, and only Swirski had
taught her to think about Jiim differently.
Just now she received him kindly, and,
after having paid him she said, with a
cold and indifferent voice, but with well-
chosen words, that she was very sorry that
on account of her departure from Monte
Carlo she would be obliged to dismiss him.
Kresowicz mechanically put the money
into his pocket and answered:
•'I told you myself yesterday that I
would not teach Homulas and Hemus any
^* Exactly — it comforts mel" she said,
raising her head.
Evidently she wished, at least in the
beginning, to hold the conversation in a
ceremonious tone, and obliged Kresowicz
to speak in the same way. But to look at
On the Sunny Shore. 96
him one could see that he had an unbended
determination to tell everything he had to
" You paid me with good money,'* said
he; "you mustn't now give me any coun-
" What do you mean?*'
"I mean this/' he said vehemently,
'^ that you neither dismissed me on account
of your departure nor do I quit for the
same reason. The cause is quite different,
and you know it as well as I do."
" If I know it, it's probable that I don't
wish either to hear or to talk about it," said
He advanced a step toward her, holding
up his threatening head.
'^ But you must hear it!" said he em-
phatically. " In the first place, because
in a moment I will be gone away; then,
on account of the other reason, about which
you will learn to-morrow."
96 On the Sunny Shore.
Pani Elzen rose from her chair, and
with frowning eyebrows and in the theat-
rical pose of an offended qneen, she said:
'* What do vou mean?^^
He approached nearer, until his face
was only a few inches from hers, and
began to talk with concentrated energy:
*^It means that I ought to have hated
you and your sphere, and I fell in love
with you. It means that for you I com-
mitted in my conscience a crime, for
which I shall punish myself. But precise-
ly for this reason I have nothing to lose,
and you must pay me for my wrong, other-
wise something dreadful will happen."
Pani Elzen was not frightened, because
she did not fear men at all. She was as-
tonished, and at once uttered an exclama-
tion of amazement:
''Mais c'est un vrai oiseau de proie,
which may tear me into pieces!*' For that
adventurous woman^ familiar with corrup-
On the Sunny Shore. 97
tion^ any adventure especially flattering
to her womanly selfishness had a great
charm. To all that her moral sense was
not afraid of trifling. Had Kresowicz be-
seeched her for one minnte of happiness^
for permission to kiss the edge of her
dress with humility^ with tears and on
his knees^ she would have ordered him to
be thrown ont. But this threatening and
almost crazy man, who represented a sect
about whose fearful energy they told dread-
ful stories in society, appeared to her
demon-like — so different from other peo-
ple, something so out of the ordinary that
she wa« simply in an ecstasy of delight.
Her nerves were longing after something
new. She thought if she resisted the ad-
venture might assume unforeseen dimen-
sions and turn into a scandal, for the crazy
man was ready for anything.
Kresowicz spoke further, breathing in
her face his warm respiration:
1)8 On the Sunnv Shore.
"I love, and I have nothing to losel
I lost my health and my future, and I
committed a base action! I have nothing
to lose! Do you understand? I don't care
if ten or a hundred people rush here if you
give an alarm. But you won't do it.
After that I will go away and the secret
will never be revealed — I swear!'^
Pani Elzen cared only to save appear-
ances, which with womanly hypocrisy she
always tried to preserve — in order to deceive
Therefore, turning toward him eyes full
of artificial fight, she asked:
" Do you wish to kill me?*'
"I want to be paid, but not with money!"
he answered in a choked voice.
Then he became paler; he seized her
and hugged her. She defended herself,
but she did it like a fainting woman, from
whom fright has taken all consciousness
On the Sunny Shore.
When Swirski arrived at Ville Pranche
he alighted from the carriage and went to
the harbor^ because the idea came to him
to return to Nice in a boat. He found a
fisherman with whom he was acquainted,
and who, being pleased to see his liberal
customer, agreed with Ligurian boastf ul-
ness to go with him ^* even to Corsica, and
though the sirocco should turn the bottom
of the sea/'
This time there -was only a question of
a small trip, so much easier because there
was not even the slightest wind. Swirski
sat at the helm and they began to glide
over the polished deep. After awhile,
having passed the luxurious private yachts.
• • •
100 On the Sunny Shore.
they approached the ironclads, whose
quiet, enormous black bodies were out-
lined harshly and prominently in the
southern sun. The deck of the Formida-
ble was already decorated with multi-
colored lanterns for the morrow^s ball, to
which Swirski was to be invited. The
sailors on board of the monster looked like
pigmies compared to the dimensions of
the vessel. The iron sides of the man-of-
war, smokestacks, masts, were all reflected
in the transparent waters as in a mirror.
From time to time a military boat, looking
like a black worm, moving its feet regu-
larly, passed among the ironclads. Be-
yond the vessels was an empty space,
where the boat in which Swirski was sit-
ting rose and fell with a broad and
gentle movement. They approached
higli rocks to the right of the wharf, along
which ran a gray, dusty road; further on
was tlie piiradc groinul, where the soldiers
On the Sunny Shore. 101
drilled and practiced military maneuvers.
Finally, having passed the cliflf, round
which the waves coming from the sea were
splashing, they emerged on to the open
Outside a seaport there is always some
breeze; therefore the fisherman began to
spread the sail, and Swirski, instead of
directing toward Nice, turned the boat
toward the sea. And as they proceeded
straight ahead, balanced by the waves, the
sun went down. The rocks and the sea
turned crimson. Everything around was
tranquil, quiet, and so gigantic that the
thought came to Swirski: How small and
paltry is life compared with the infinity
which surrounded him at that moment!
He felt as if he had left all his own and
other people's affairs and had gone far, far
away. Pani Elzen, Romulus, Remus, all
acquaintances and the people swarming
on the shore, full of life^ uneasiness^
102 On the Sunny Shore.
mean ambition and low passions, became
smaller to him. And being a man accus-
tomed to digest and analyze his thoughts
and impressions, he was afraid that if he
were really in love with Pani Elzen her
image would not have been thus veiled,
disturbed, diminished, and would never
have disappeared. Swirski recollected
how once, after the wedding of a woman
with whom he was in love to another, he
had left his country. For the first time
then he saw Eome, Sicily, the sea, the
shores of Africa — and none of those im-
pressions could erase the image of
the beloved woman. In the galleries,
on the sea, and in the desert she
was with him, and he felt everything
through her, and everywhere he spoke to
her as if she were present. The difference
between those former years and to-day
made him sad.
But the quietude of the evening and of
On the Sunny Shore. 103
the sea pacified him. They went so far
that the shore began to disappear. Then
the sun set and the stars began to shine
one after another. The dolphins, which
by twilight like to swim around a boat,
breaking the surface of the deep with their
sharp backs, disappeared and everything
was quiet. The surface of the water be-
came so smooth that the sail hung flat.
Finally the moon appeared from behind
the mountains and bathed the sea with a
greenish light as far as the limits of the
horizon. A quiet, fair southern night
Swirski wrapped himself in the fisher-
man's pelerine and began to think. "Every-
thing that surrounds me is not only beau-
tiful but true also. Human life, if it is
to be normal, must be inoculated on the
trunk of nature — must grow from it as a
branch grows from the tree and exists on
the strength of the same laws. Then it
104 On the Sunny Shore.
will be trae and morale becaase in fact
morality is nothing else than the harmony
of life with the general laws of nature.
Here I am surrounded by simplicity and
quietude; I understand it only as an artist^
for I don't have them in myself as a man,
because my life as well as the life of those
people among whom I live is far from na-
ture — it ceases to be governed by its laws
and has become a lie. Everything in us
is artificial. We have lost even the senti-
ment of natural laws. Our relations are
based on falsehood, we have crooked minds,
sick souls and passions. We deceive each
other and ourselves, and finally nobody is
sure whether he really wishes that which
he wants or whether he is able to do that
which he wishes.'*
And at once, in the presence of the con-
trast of that night, of the infinity of the
sea, of the stars, of the whole of nature, of
its peacefulness, simplicity and might, a
On the Sunny Shore. 105
sentiment of a gigantic lie in everyday
relations seized him. This love for Pani
Elzen appeared to him to be a lie; her
relation to him a lie^ to the children^ to
other men, to the world; this life on the
snnny shore, the present and his own
f atare a lie.
"It surrounds me like a net/' he
thought, " and I don't know how to escape
from itr' And in fact it was true, because
if the whole life is a lie then what shall
one do? Return to nature? Begin some
kind of wild, half -peasant life? Break
with people and tarn reformer? Swirski
felt that he was too old and too skeptical
for that. For that, it would be necessary
to have Kresowicz's dogmatism and feel
the evil in order to get a stimulant for
reform and strength for the fight, and not
look at it as an impression which may be
But another thought came to Swirski,
106 On the Sunny Shore.
One who does not feel strong enongh to
reform the world can escape from it for a
certain time and rest. To-morrow he
coald be in Marseilles, and a couple of
days after somewhere else, perhaps on the
ocean, hundreds of miles from the shore —
from sickly life, from its lies and swindles.
In that way everything would be untied,
or rather cut as with a knife.
And at one moment he was seized with
such a desire to turn this thought into a
deed that he ordered the boatman to return
**An animal seeing that he is in a net,*'
thought he, '^ before all else tries to dis-
entangle himself from it. It's the first law
and it's in harmony with nature; there-
fore it's moral. Pani Elzeu alone is not
my net. It's everything taken together.
But at the same time I feel that if I marry
her I would marry the life of the lie. Even
perhaps it would not be her fault, but the
On the Sunny Shore. 107
necessity of things — and it's always per-
mitted to escape from such landscapes.*'
Here he began to imagine other land-
scapes, which he was going to see in his
flight: vast expanses of water and saud,
unknown countries and peoples, the sin-
cerity and truth of their primitive life,
finally the variety of incidents and the
great difference between the future and
'^ I deserved it a long time ago!" he said
Then another thought came to his mind
— a thought which may come only to an
artist — that wlien one " giyeshis JiaJicce the
cold shake" and goes, for instance, to
Paris, such a deed would constitute suita-
ble groundwork for ^'bad literature," but
if one escapes somewhere as far as the
equator, where the pepper grows, the fact
of j escaping becomes smaller compared
with the great distance — the act creates a
108 On the Sunny Shore.
different impression, looks more original^
and is more fashionable.
'*And I shall go," thought he, " deuced-
In the meanwliile Nice appeared to him
in the form of a rope of lights. In the
middle of this rope the building called
'* Jet6e-Promenade " shone like a gigantic
lantern. In proportion as the boat, pro-
pelled by a strong wind, approached the
wharf, each of those lights changed into a
fiery pillar shivering on the moving line
of the shore. The sight of those lights
made Swirski sober.
*^The city!— and the life!" thought he.
And at once all his previous projects
began to disappear like nightmares, bom
of the emptiness and the night. That
which awhile ago he considered right, easy
and necessary to be executed, seemed to
him now to be a fancy, bare of common
sense and even dishonest, ''No matter
On the Sunny Shore. 109
what is the life, one mnst be caref al. One
who has lived ander its laws as long as I
have lived must feel that he is obliged to
respect those laws. It's not difficult to
say to one's self: ' I used them as long as
they were useful to me;* but the moment
I am bothered I return to nature. '*
Then he began to think hard — not about
general theories, but about Pani Elzen.
'^ By what right should I leave her? If
her life was artificial and false, if her past
is not clear, I have known about it and
was not obliged to propose. Now I would
be right to break with her only if I had
discovered in her some evil which she had
concealed from me, or if in some way she
were guilty toward me. But she is not
guilty at all. She was honest and sincere
with me. At any rate there is something
in her which attracts me toward her;
otherwise I would not have proposed.
There are moments in which I feel that I
110 On the Sunny Shore.
am in love with her> and if sometimes
some doubts arise in me why should she
suffer for it? My flight would at least
He understood that for a decent man to
think about flight, and to accomplish it,
were two opposite extremes. He could
only dream about it. Rather he would
ask Pani Elzen to give him back his word.
But to escape the danger — it would be a
thing unworthy of his personal character
and his thoroughly civilized race. Finally
the thought that he would wrong Pani
Elzen filled him with sorrow and she
became dearer to him.
They reached the wharf and in a few
minutes landed. He paid the fisherman,
took a cab, and ordered the coachman to
drive him to his studio. On the street,
amid the noise, lights and movement, ho
was again seized by a longing after the
On the Sunny Shore. Ill
solitude, after that infinity of the waters,
after that tranquillity and that great God's
truth with which he had departed awhile
before. Finally when near the studio the
following thought came to his mind:
'at*s strange,'' thought he, "that I,
who was 80 much afraid of women and
whom I distrusted so much, should finally
select a woman who is able to arouse more
troublesome impressions than all others
Some kind of fatalism was in this whole
affair, and without doubt Swirski would
have found in that coincidence abundant
material for reflection during the whole
evening if not for the fact that immedi-
ately after he entered the house the servant
handed him two letters. One contained
an invitation for the ball on the Formida-
ble, the other was from Mme. Lageat, the
landlady. She wrote him that she was
_J.^<<. aj &• -.
112 On the Sunny Shore.
going to Marseilles for a conple of days,
and she also announced some news — that
slie had found a model which ought to
satisfy the most exquisite taste — the girl
was coming to-morrow.
On the Sunny Shore. 113
Ik fact the announced God's masterpiece
came the next day at nine o'clock. Swir-
ski was already dressed, waiting impa-
tiently and fall of uneasiness. Happily
his fears proved to he vain: the first glance
satisfied him. The young girl was tall,
very graceful, had a small head, delicate
face, heautiful hair, long eyelashes and
a very fresh complexion. But Swirski was
principally pleased that she had "her own
face " and great charm in its expression.
*' She has noble movements,'' thought he,
*' and if she is as well formed as she looks,
then * Eureka!' I will engage her for a
He was also impressed by her timidity
On the Sunnv Shore.
and frightened looks. It is true he knew
that models sometimes imitate modesty.
But he supposed that this one did not
"^VTiat is thy name, my dear girl?*'
''Art thou from Nice?'*
" Yes, from Xice/'
" Hast thou posed already?"
"Experienced models know what one
requires from them; there is a great hother
with fresh ones. Thou never posed in thy
" How didst thou get the idea to become
The girl hesitated for a moment and
"Mme. Lageat told me that I would be
able to earn some money that way."
'* Yes, but thou art afraid. Why art
On the Sunny Shore. 115
thon afraid? I am not going to eat thee
np! How much wilt thon ask for the
^^Mme. Lageat told me that yon pay
^^Mme. Lageat was mistaken. I pay
The girl's face lighted up with joy, and
she hlnshed still more.
*' When shall I hegin?" she asked with
"To-day — immediately!" said Swirski,
pointing to the unfinished picture. " There
is the screen; go and undress! Only to
the waist. Thou wilt pose for the head,
for the breast and part of the hips."
She turned toward him her astonished
face, and her hands dropped slowly to her
"What do you mean, sir?" asked she
timidly, looking at him with frightened
116 On the Sunny Shore.
He answered a little bit impatiently:
" My dear girl, I understand that the
first time it may be hard. But either one
is a model or not. I need a head, a bust
and a part of the hips very badly, un-
derstand? Then thou must know that
there is nothing bad, and before all thou
must think it over, and be quick, because
if thou dost not wish, I will be obliged
to find some one else.'^
He spoke thus a little bit uneasily, be-
cause inwardly he wished her to stay, and
if she did not he would be obliged to search
for another. In the meanwhile there was
a silence. The model became very pale,
but after awhile she went quietly behind
Swirski began to move the easels toward
the window and place them properly, in
the meanwhile thinking:
" She will become accustomed, and in a
week will laugh at her scruples,"
On the Sunny Shore. 117
Then he placed a sofa, on which the
model was to lie down, picked up his
brushes and became impatient:
"Well, art thou ready r
"Decide! What a joke!"
From behind the screen was heard a
voice vibrating with an entreating suppli-
"Panie!* I thought that— There is
great misery in our house, but that way —
I — can't! If you would be so kind as to
let me pose only for the head — even for
three francs, even for two — if you would
be so kind "
And the words changed into a sobbing.
Swirski turned toward the screen,
dropped his brushes and opened his mouth.
He was astounded, because the model
spoke in his own language.
• From "Pan;" lord.
118 On the Sunny Shore.
"So yon are a Polish lady 5^' said he
finally, and he forgot that awhile hefore
he had nsed " thou '^ in speaking to her.
"Yes, Panie! It is — my father was an
Italian, hut ray grandfather was a Pole.*'
There was silence again. Swirski re-
gained his self-possession and said :
" Dress yourself again. You shall pose
only for the head.^'
But evidently she had not even begun
to undress, because she came from behind
the screen immediately, bashful and con-
fused, full of fright and with traces of
tears on her cheeks.
"Thank you, sir,*' said she. "You
are — You must excuse me, but *'
" Be quiet," interrupted Swirski. '* Here
is a chair! be quiet. You will pose for
the head — To the deuce! I did not
wish to insult you. Do you see this pic-
ture? I needed a model to paint this
figure. But as long as you can't stand it.
On the Sunny Shore. 119
thafs diflferent, especially when you are a
The tears hegan to flow again^ but her
blue eyes looked at him with gratitude;
he found a bottle of wine, poured some
into a glass, and handing it to her, said:
*' You must drink. I have some crack-
ers somewhere, but the deuce knows where
they are. Pray be quiet."
Speaking thus, he looked at her with
honest sympathy, then he said:
^^ Poor child!"
Then he put the easel in its former
"You can't pose to-day; you are too
excited. We shall begin to-morrow. Let
us talk to-day. Who could suppose Maria
Cervi to be a Polish lady? You said your
grandfather was a Pole. Is he living?"
"He is living, but for two years has
been unable to walk."
"What is his name?"
120 On the Sunny Shore.
Orysiewich/' answered she, pronounc-
ing it with a foreign accent.
*' I know the name. How long since he
left the country?^'
'* Grandpa has not heen in Poland for
sixty-five years. He served in the Italian
army, then in a bank in Nice.''
'^ How old is he?''
^' Grandpa is ninety."
^' Your father's name was Cervi?"
" Yes. Papa came from Nice, but he
also served in the Italian army."
" How long since he died?"
^^Five years ago."
^'Is your mother living?"
" My mother is living. We live together
in old Nice."
"That's right," said Swirski. "One
question more: Does your mother know
that you wished to become a model?"
The girl answered hesitatingly:
"No. Mother doesn't know it. Mme.
On the Sunnj' Shore. 121
Lageat told me that in that way I could
earn five francs a day, and as we are poor —
very poor — therefore — I was obliged *'
Swirski with a quick glance took in the
girl from her feet to the top of her head,
and he knew she was speaking the truth.
Everything spoke of poverty, from the hat
and the old, worn-out, faded dress, of
which one could see every thread of its
texture, to the gloves, which were mended
and grown red.
" You had better go home now,^^ said
he, " and tell your mother that the painter
Swirski wishes you to pose to him for a
head. Tell her also that the painter will
call at your house in order to beg her to
accompany you to his studio when you
come to pose, and that he will pay you ten
francs a day.'*
Panna Cervi thanked him with tears in
her eyes. And he, noticing her confusion,
122 On the Sunny Shore.
" I will be there within one hour. You
look to be a very honest girl. You must
trust me. I am a little bit of a bear^ but
I can understand many things. Aha! one
thing! I will not give you money now,
for you would be obliged to explain how
you got it, but I will bring and ad-
vance to you what will bo necessary. I
have sometimes been hard up, and I know
what a quick help means. Don^t thank
me! Good-by, child — in an hour!"
Having asked her address, he conducted
the girl downstairs. In an hour he
took a carriage and told the coachman to
drive him to old Nice. Everything that
had happened seemed to him so strange
that he could not think of anything else.
In the meanwhile he was satisfied as an
honest man is satisfied when he has acted
as ho ought to act toward himself and an-
other who was deserving of kindness.
'^ If Panna Corvi is not a good and honest
On the Sunny Shore. 123
girl/' he thought, " then I am the biggest
ass in the whole of Liguria."
But he did not admit that it was possi-
ble. On the contrary he was sure that he
had met a very honest womanly soul, and
he was pleased that this soul was placed
in such a young and beautiful body.
Finally the carriage stopped before an
old and weatherbeaten house. The house-
keeper contemptuously showed Swirski to
Pani Cervi's apartments.
*'A home of misery!" thought the
painter, mounting the dirty stairs.
He rapped at the door.
*' Come in!" said a voice within. Swir-
ski entered. He was welcomed by a
woman about forty years old, dressed in
black — thin, sad, evidently broken in
health, but having nothing common in
her manner. Beside her stood Panna
"I know all about it, and I thank you
124 On the Sunny Shore.
from my heart and soul T' said Pani Cervi.
"May God reward and bless you/'
Speaking thus^ she seized his hand and
bent her head as if she wished to kiss it.
But he withdrew it quickly, and then,
wishing to break the solemnity of the mo-
ment, he turned toward Panna Maria, and,
threatening her with his iSnger, said, with
the freedom of an old friend:
"Aha! this young person told every-
thing!" Panna Maria, instead of answer-
ing, smiled at him, a little bit sadly and
with embarrassment. She seemed to him
more beautiful than in the studio. He
noticed also that she had around her neck
a pink ribbon, which she had not had
before. He was flattered, because it was
a proof that she did not consider him
an old man, and had dressed to please
In the meanwhile Pani Cervi said : " Yes,
Maria told me everything. God watched
On the Sunny Shore. 125
over her and over ns^ and He helped her
to meet such a good man as yon are.'^
To this Swirski said :
" Panna Maria spoke to me about the
hardships in which you are living, but
pray believe that it is a blessing, even
in hard circumstances, to have such a
" Yes,'* quietly answered Pani Cervi.
''As for me, I am glad to have met you,
because I was searching in vain. Now I
am easy about my picture. Only I must
assure myself about my model. ^'
And speaking thus, he took three hun-
dred francs from his pocketbook and
begged of Pani Cervi to accept it, assur-
ing her that he was doing a splendid busi-
ness, and thanks to Panna Maria he would
get lots of money for his picture. And
then he expressed a desire to meet ''grand-
pa,'* because he was always fond of old
126 On the Sunny Shore.
Fauna Maria rushed into the second
room; after a moment the noise of a chair
on wheels was heard, and the grandfather,
whom they had dressed, in honor of the
guest, in a uniform and all the decorations
received in Italy, was drawn into the room.
Swirski then perceived the small and
wrinkled face of an old man, with snow-
white mustache and hair; he had hlue,
widely-opened eyes, resembling those of a
'^ Grandpa, '* said Panna Maria, bending
down so that the old man could see her
lips, and speaking precisely, slowly and
loudly, ^' it's Pan Swirski, a countryman,
The old man turned his blue eyes toward
him, looked at him and repeated:
'' Countryman ? Yes ! Countryman! ''
Then he smiled, looked at his daughter
and granddaughter, then again at Swirski;
for awhile he was searching for words;
On the Sunnv Shore. 127
finally he asked^ in old and trembling
"And in the spring — what?*'
Evidently he had some thought in his
mind that he could not express. He bent
his trembling head on the armchair, and
looking at the window he smiled, repeat-
^^ Yes, yes! It will be r
"He is always that way T' said Panna
Swirski looked at him with emotion and
Pani Cervi began to talk about her father
and husband. Both were in the war
against Austria for the independence of
Italy. They lived in Florence for some
time, and returned to Nice only when
Home was taken. In Nice the younger
comrade had married Orysiewich's daugh-
ter, and both got positions in a bank.
Everything went smoothly, till a few
years ago Cervi was killed in a railroad
128 On the Sunny Shore.
accident, and Orysiewich lost his position
on account of old age. Since that time
their hardships began, because the only
source for their living was a pension of
six hundred lires paid to the old man by
the Italian government. It was enough
to preserve them from starvation, but not
enough to live on. Both women earned
something by sewing and teaching, but in
the summer, when everything became
quiet in Nice, and one could not earn
anything, their small resources were soon
exhausted. For two years the old man
had not walked; ho was sick, and being
obliged to pay the doctor and buy medi-
cine, they grew poorer and poorer.
Swirski while listening made two men-
tal observations: In the first place, that
Pani Cervi spoke Polish worse than her
daughter. Evidently the old man, during
the campaign, had not devoted as much
time to his daughter as he did after-
On the Sunny Shore. 129
ward to his granddanghter. But the
other idea was more important to
Swirski. He thought that this grand-
daughter, being such a beautiful girl,
could in Nice, on that shore, on which
every year were strolling many million-
aires, get plenty of gold, keep carriages,
servants, and have a boudoir upholstered
with satin. But she wore an old dress,
and a faded pink ribbon was her only
luxury. There must be some force
which preserved her from evil. "For
this,'' Swirski said to himself, " two things
are necessary: a pure nature and an hon-
est bringing up. There is no doubt that I
have met both.''
And he felt at ease among these people.
He noticed also that poverty had not
rubbed out the traces of good breeding
and of a certain refinement which comes
from within and seems to be something
natural. Both mother and daughter re-
130 On the Sunny Shore.
ceived him as a providential gnest, but in
their words and mien one could still see a
greater pleasure that they had met an
honest man than because he had helped
It was possible that those throe hundred
francs spared the family many sorrows
and humiliations, but he felt, just the
same, that both women were more grateful
to him that in the studio he had acted
like a man with a good and tender heart
who had understood the girFs grief,
shame and sacrifice. But he was pleased
most by noticing that in Panna Cervi's
bashfulness, in her charming looks, there
was that embarrassment which a girl
only feels in the presence of a man toward
whom she feels gratitude, and who in the
meanwhile, according to Swirski's own
expression, ''is still in the circulation."
He was forty-five years old, and notwith-
standing a young heart, he began to doubt
On the Sunny Shore. 131
himself; therefore that pink ribbon and
his observation caused him real pleasure.
And he talked to them with as much
respect and attention as if they were ladies
of the best society^ and seeing this^ they
appreciated that he was pleased. He
shook hands with both of them^ and when
Panna Maria, with drooping eyes, gave
him the whole strength of her warm
and young hand, he became a little bit
dizzy, and his head was so filled with
the pretty model that the coachman was
obliged to ask him twice where he wished
While in the carriage he was thinking
that it would not be proper to paint Panna
Marians head on some other girl's body,
and he tried to persuade himself that it
would be better to cover the bust of the
sleeping girl with a light drapery.
"When I return I will call any model;
I will cover her and make such changes
132 On the Sunny Shore.
that to-morrow they may find the thing
ready," said he to himself.
Then he thought that he could not hire
Panna Cervi forever, and he was sorry
The carriage stopped before the studio.
Swirski paid the driver and stepped out.
" There is a telegram for you, sir," said
the housekeeper to him.
The painter awakened as from a dream.
''Aha!" said he; ''very well! give it to
And having taken the telegram from
the housekeeper, he opened it impatiently.
But as soon as he glanced at it astonish-
ment and fright appeared on his face,
because the telegram read as follows:
"Kresowicz killed himself an hour ago.
On the Sunny Shore. 133
Whex Pani Elzen met Swirski her face
looked confused and irritated; her eyes
were dry bnt red, as if she had been cry-
ing; her manner was full of impatience.
"Have you received any letter?^' she
asked him hastily.
''No. I received only yoar telegram.
What a misfortune!"
''I thonght he had written to you.'*
'' No. When did it happen?"
''This morning; they heard a shot in
his room. The servants rushed in and
found him dead."
" Here in the hotel?"
"No. Happily he went yesterday to
134 On the Sunny Shore.
*' What is the cause of it?"
''How can I know?" she answered im-
" Because as far as I know he did not
''No. They found some money on
" Was it yesterday that you dismissed
"Yes, but he asked rae to do it."
"Perhaps he took it too seriously."
'*I don't know," she said feverishly.
"If he wanted to kill himself he ought
to have gone away. But he was a mad-
man — that explains everything! Why did
he not go away?"
Swirski looked at her attentively.
" Quiet yourself," said he.
But she misunderstood him and said:
"Because it's very unpleasant for me,
and then there might be some troublel
Who knows if I will not be obliged to go to
On the Sunny Shore. 135
court as a witness? How can I know?
What a dreadful thing! And then there
will be some gossip. First Wiadrowski!
I wanted to ask you to tell among yonr
friends that he gambled and had lost my
money, and that was the reason for the
suicide. If yon think that it will be nec-
essary to repeat it in court it will then be
better not to speak about it, because it
may come out that it is not true; but you
can say it to the people. If he had gone
at least to Mentona or to Nice! Then
God knows whether he had written any-
thing before his death in order to avenge
himself on me. If some letter should fall
into the hands of a newspaper man! One
may expect anything from this kind of
people. I wanted to leave Nice, bnt now
Swirski looked more and more atten-
tively on her troubled face with closed
lips; finally he said:
136 On the Sunny Shore.
''Yes, it is horridi" answered Pani El-
zen. " Would it not increase the gossip
if we leave to-morrow?''
"I don't think so/' said Swirski.
And he inquired about the hotel in
which Kresowicz shot himself, and said
that he would go there to get some news
and arrange for the funeral.
But she wanted to stop him, so he said:
" Madam! he is not a dog, but a man,
and it's proper to bury him at least/'
" Somebody will bury him without you,"
Swirski took leave, however, and went
out. On the stairs of the hotel he raised
his hand to his forehead and repeated:
'* How horrid!"
He knew by experience how far human
egotism can go; he knew also that women
in egotism as well as in self-denial overtop
men; he recollected that he had already
On the Sunny Shore. 137
meb snch types of womanhood, among
whom, under the exterior coat of varnish,
the rough, animal-like egotism was hid-
den—in whom all moral instinct ended
where the personal interest began. Pani
Elzen, however, was able to astonish him.
'^ This unfortunate man," said he to him-
self, *^ was an instructor of her children;
he used to live with her under the same
roof, and was in love with her. And she?
Not a word of sympathy, of pity! Noth-
ing and nothing! She is angry with him
for the trouble he has caused her, that ho
did not go far from the city, that he has
spoiled the season for her, that they will
talk about her; but she never thought to
ask what was the matter with him, why
he killed himself, and had ho not done it
for her? And in her irritation she forgot
that she had betrayed herself, and that, if
not on account of good heart, at least on
account of good sense, she ought to show
138 On the Sunny Shore.
to me that she is better than that. Ah!
what a spiritnal barbarism ! Appearances,
appearances that is all^ and nnder a French
corset and the French accent the primi-
tive nature of a true Zulu woman! Civi-
lization applied to the skin like powder!
Even she is cheeky enough to ask me to
tell the people that he was gambling with
her money. Pooh! May a thunderbolt
strike all this business !''
Thus thiuking and speaking, he reached
Gondamine and found the small hotel in
which the suicide was committed. In
Kresowicz's room he found a physician
and a curt official, who were very glad he
had come, because they expected he could
give them some information about the
^* He left a note,*' said the official, " ask-
ing to bo buried in a common grave, and
the money found with him to be sent to
On the Sunny Shore. 139
Znrich to an address given by him. He
has burned all papers.''
Swirski looked at Eresowicz, who was
lying on the bed with opened, frightened
'^ The dead man considered himself sick
without any hope of recovery," said he;
*' that's probably the reason he has com-
mitted suicide. He never gambled."
Then he said everything he knew about
Kresowicz, left money enough to purchase
a separate grave, and went out.
While walking he recollected what
Kresowicz said to him in Nice about mi-
crobes, also his answer given to Wiad row-
ski^ that he had joined the society of
"silent ones/' and he convinced himself
that the young student killed himself
because he doubted if he could ever be
But he understood also that some sec-
ondary reasons might be admitted, and
140 On the Sunny Shore.
among them the unhappy loYe for Pani
Elzen and his parting from her. These
thoughts made him sad. Kresowicz's
body, with the fright in his eyes, stood
before him. He thought that nobody
plunged into that fearful darkness without
fright, that the whole life, compared with
the necessity of death, was one of gigantic
tragical nonsense, and he returned to Pani
Elzen very low spirited.
She was relieved when she learned that
Kresowicz had not left any papers. She
said that she would send the money nec-
essary for a decent funeral, and now talked
about him with a certain pity. But she
could not make Swirski stay with her.
The painter announced that he must go
^'But I shall see yon at least in the
evening?" said she, shaking hands with
him. "I wanted to go to Nice toward
evening, and go with you."
On the Sunny Shore. 141
'^ Where ?^' asked Swirski, astonished.
"Have you forgotten? To the hall on
board the Formidable/'
"Ah! you are then going to the ball?''
"If you only knew how diflficult it is
for me, especially after such an unpleasant
accident, you would pity me, because, in
fact, I am sorry for that poor young man.
But I must do it, if only for the reason
that people may not haye cause for sup-
" So? Good-by!" said Swirski.
And a few moments afterward, sitting
in the train, he said to himself:
" I will be a dead crab if I go with you
to a ball on the Formidable or to any other
142 On the Sunny Shore.
But the next day his sadness had passed
when Pani Cerri and Panna Maria came to
his stndio. Seeing the beautiful fresh
face of the girl he became eyen joyful.
In the studio everything was ready; the
easel w^as placed near the window, the sofa
for the use of the model not far from it.
Pani Lagoat received the most precise
order not to let anybody in, even if Queen
Victoria herself should call.
Swirski drew the curtains and darkened
the window in the ceiling, but while doing
this he looked continually at his gracious
In the meanwhile the ladies took off
their hats and Panna Maria asked:
On the Sunny Shore. 143
'' What shall I do now?*'
" You must first let your hair fall," said
He approached her and she raised both
hands to her head. It was apparent that
his request made her uneasy, and that it
seemed strange to her. And Swirski
looked at her confused face, drooped eyes,
bent figure, and the elegant lines of her
hips, and thought that in this big pail of
filth — Nice — he had discoTered a true
After awhile her hair fell oyer her
shoulders. Panna Maria shook her head
to dishevel it, and it covered her com-
^^Corpo Dio r exclaimed Swirski. The
more difficult task was to pose the model.
Swirski noticed that the girl's heart beat
quicker, that her breast heaved faster,
and her cheeks burned as though she was
obliged to fight against an instinctive
144 On the Sunny Shore.
bashfnlnessy with an nneasiness similar
to that which causes one an unknown
Therefore he spoke to himself: "No!
she is not a common model — she is quite
different — and I am not looking at her
simply as a painter would/' In fact he was
embarrassed, and his fingers trembled
when he was placing her head on a cushion;
but wishing to got rid of the agitation he
began to talk jokingly:
"Keep quiet now! That way! One
must do something for art. Now, that's
well! How beautiful your profile looks on
the red ground! If you could see it — ^but
you can't! Don't smile — it's forbidden.
You must sleep! I am going to paint
And he began to work, but soon stopped
and asked Pani Cervi about past times.
He learned from her that Maria had had a
very good position in the house of the
On the Sunny Shore. 145
Countess Dziadzikiewich, nSe Atrament,
daughter of a rich manufacturer from
Lodz. But she dismissed her on learning
that Maria's father and grandfather had
served in the Italian army. It was very
hard for them, because they both wished
very much that Maria might become a
reader with some lady living in Nice dur-
ing the winter, as then they would not be
obliged to separate.
In Swirski the painter awakened. He
frowned, looked over the handle of the
brush to the reclining girl, and painted
diligently. From time to time he put
aside the palette and brushes, approached
the model and corrected the position of her
head. Then he bent over her more than
was necessary for the interest of art,
and when he felt the warmth of her young
body, when he looked on her long
eyelashes and the slightly opened mouth,
a shiver ran through his bones, his
146 On the Sunny Shore.
fingers trembled nervously, and he spoke
to himself inwardly:
"Keep up, old man! To the deucel
Surely he was very fond of her. Her
embarrassment, her blushes, her mod-
esty, coupled with a certain virginal
coquettishness, made him happy. All
this proved to him that she did not con-
sider him an old man. He felt that
she liked him also. Her grandfather
surely had told her marvelous things about
his countrymen, and maybe had excited
She doubtless thought she had now met
one of them — not a common one — ^honest,
famous, who appeared to her as in a fairy
tale, at the moment of greatest need,
with help and kindness. How could she
help feeling sympathy for him and looking
at him with gratitude?
All these things made the time pass
On the Sunny Shore. 147
very rapidly to Swirski, and he did not
notice that it was already noontime. But
at twelve o'clock Panna Maria said that
they must go back, because they had left
grandpa alone and that they must serve
him his luncheon. Swirski asked them
to come in the afternoon. If they did not
wish to leave the old man alone perhaps
they would ask some one to stay with
him. Perhaps the housekeeper, or her
husband, would do it. There is the ques-
tion about the picture! Two sittings a
day would bo reciprocally useful. If
there should be a necessity for paying
somebody to watch the old man, he would
consider it a favor if they would permit
him to meet the expense, because, above
all, he cared for the picture.
Two sittings a day for Panna Maria was
very good business, and considering the
misery in the house she could not refuse
it. Therefore they agreed to come again
148 On the Snnny Shore.
at two o'clock. Happy Swirski deter-
mined to conduct them home.
At the door of the house the house-
keeper handed to Swirski a bunch of musk
roses, telling him that they were brought
by two lovely boys, and that they wished
to enter the studio, but she did not let
Swirski answered that she acted wisely,
and he gave the roses to Panna Maria. In
a few moments they were on the Prome-
nade des Anglais. Nice seemed to Swir-
ski to be prettier and more animated than
ever. He enjoyed the noise, which before
had always made him angry. They met
Wiadrowski and De Sinten, who stopped,
having noticed the artist. He saluted
them and passed, but while passing he
noticed that De Sinten put his monocle
to his eye, looked at Panna Maria and ex-
claimed with astonishment: ^' PrrrisUr
They both followed him for awhile, but
On the Sunny Shore. 149
opposite the Jetee-Promenade Swirski took
a carriage and conducted the ladies home.
The idea came to him to invite the
whole family to a luncheon, but he thought
there would be a bother with the old man,
and that, considering their short acquaint-
ance, such a sudden invitation might sur-
prise Pani Cervi. Instead of that he
promised himself that when the old
man could get some one to take care of
him, then, in order to save time, he would
have luncheon served in the studio. After
he left the ladies at the door he rushed
to the first hotel he could see, and there
he swallowed his luncheon without know-
ing what he was eating. Pani Elzen,
Romulus and Remus, the bunches of musk
roses passed in his mind. A few days ago
the beautiful widow and his relation to-
ward her were questions of great impor-
tance to him. He remembered well that
inward fight he had undergone on the sea
150 On the Sunny Shore.
coming back from Ville Franche. Now
he said to himself: *'It doesn't exist for
me any more and I shall not think of it
longer." And he did not feel the slight-
est uneasiness or smallest remorse. On
the contrary, it seemed to him that some
heavy burden had fallen from his shoulders.
All his thoughts returned to Panna Maria.
She was in his eyes and in his head; by
the strength of imagination he saw her
again with her disheveled hair, closed
eyelids, and when he thought that in about
an hour he would be able to touch her
temples with his fingers, to bend again
over her, and feel the warmth from her
young body, he was as intoxicated as
if he had drank wine, and he asked
himself for the second time:
** Well, what will become of you, old
But when he came back to his studio he
found Pani Elzen's telegram: "I am ex-
On the Sunny Shore. 151
pecting you at six o*clock for dinner/'
Swirski crumpled it and put it in his
pocket, and when Pani Cervi came with
her daughter he had forgotten about it so
completely that, after having finished his
work, toward five o'clock, he began to
think where he should go to dine, and he
was mad that he did not know what to do
in the evening.
162 On the Sunny Shore.
The next day when Mme. Lageat
brought the luncheon for three people
she said that an hour before those two
lovely boys were there again, but this time
with an elegantly dressed lady.
'*The young lady wanted to see you,
but I told her you had gone to Antibes.*'
"To Toulon! To Toulon!" answered
the painter merrily.
But the next day Mme. Lageat could
not communicate Swirski^s answer, because
only a letter came. Swirski did not read
it at all. Instead, it happened that day
that, wishing to correct Panna Maria's
''position," he put his hands under her
shoulders and lifted her so that their breasts
On the Sunny Shore. 153
tonched and her breath bathed his face.
She became very much confused, and he
said to himself that if such a moment
would only last long enough it would be
worth while to give his life for it.
In the evening he spoke to himself thus:
** Your senses are working in you dif-
ferently from what they did before, because
this time your soul is with them, and all
because she is a child who in this pudri-
dero of Nice has remained pure. It's not
her merit, but her nature, and where
can a person find a similar one? This
time I am not deceiving myself and don't
persuade myself — the reality speaks.*'
And it seemed to him that he had a
Two days afterward he received another
dispatch, which was given to him in the
presence of both ladies.
He opened it rather unwillingly, glanced
at it, and his face expressed his confusion.
154 On the Sunny Shore.
'^ Yon must excuse me, ladies/^ he said
after awhile, *' I have received such news
that I am obliged to be going immediately/'
"Nothing bad at least ?^' asked Pani
"No! no! But it may be that I will
not be able to be present for the afternoon
sitting. At any rate it will be ended to-
day, and to-morrow I will have peace."
Having said this, he took leave of them
a bit feverishly but cordially, and a few
moments afterward he was sitting in the
carriage on the road to Monte Carlo.
When he passed the JetSe-Promenade he
pulled out the dispatch and read it again.
It was as follows:
" I am waiting for you this afternoon.
If you do not come by the four-o'clock
tram I know what I shall do.
He was afraid of this signature, for he
On the Sunny Shore. 155
was nnder the influence of Kresowicz's
'* Who knows/^ said he to himself, "to
what deed it may lead the woman — if not
in her offended love, then in her offended
selfishness? I ought not to act as I have
acted. It was a very easy matter to answer
the first letter — and to hreak with her.
One mustn't play with anybody, no matter
if he is good or bad. This time I will
break with her, but I must do it now, and
not wait till four o'clock."
And he told the coachman to hasten.
He tried to persuade himself that Pani
Elzen would not make any attempt on her
life. But there were moments when he
doubted whether her monstrous egotism,
if offended, would not push her to commit
such a dreadful deed.
He remembered that in her character
there was a certain stubbornness, a certain
determination and courage. It is trne
156 On the Sunny Shore.
that the thought of the children ought to
stop her, but will it stop her? Does she
really care about those children? And
thinking what might happen, his hair
stood up on end. His conscience began
to trouble hira again and a new fight
commenced within him. Panna Maria's
picture passed before his eyes continually,
arousing bitter sorrow.
'*It is true," he repeated to himself,
** that I am going to break my engage-
ment, but I feel a great uneasiness. What
shall I do if this bad, vain and revengeful
woman should say to me, * You or mor-
And in the meanwhile, aside from un-
easiness and uncertainty, a disgust seized
him, because it seemed to him that the
question put in that way would be worthy
of some false heroine belonging to ''bad
But what would it be if she should put
On the Sunny Shore. 157
it that way? In society, especially in Nice,
there are many women who belong to
Amid these thoughts and amid the
clouds of gray dust he arrived at last at
Monte Carlo and told the coachman to
stop at the Hotel de Paris. But before
he could alight he perceived on the green-
sward Romulus and Bemus playing ball.
They rushed toward him.
" Good-morning, sir!*'
" Good-morning! Is your mother in her
" No. Maman went on horseback with
Monsieur de Sinten."
There was a silence.
"Ah! mamma went with Monsieur de
Sinten!" repeated Swirski. " Very well !"
After awhile he added:
"It's true! She did not expect me till
158 On the Sunny Shore.
Suddenly he began to langh:
"The drama is ended by a farce. I
have forgotten — we are on the Bivieral
What an ass I am!"
"Will you wait for mamanV* asked
"No. Boys, listen: Tell your mother
that I came to bid her good-by, and that I
am sorry I did not see her, because to-day
I am going away."
And he told the coachman to return to
In the evening he received a telegram
with only one word in it — "Villain."
When he read it, it made him merry,
because it was not signed "Morphine/'
On the Sunny Shore. 159
Two weeks after the picture represent-
ing ^' Sleep and Death" was finished
Swirski began another, which he called
"Euterpe/' But he could not work. He
complained that the light was too sharp,
and, instead of painting, looked at the
beautiful Panna Maria's face^ as if he
was searching for Euterpe's expression.
He looked at her so intently that under
the influence of his looks Panna Maria
blushed, and he became more and more
uneasy. Finally one morning he said
suddenly, with strange, changed voice:
" I notice one thing — that you both love
Italy very much."
'^ We and grandpa also!" answered Pan-
160 On the Sunny Shore.
**And I also. Half of my life I spent
in Florence and in Rome. There the
light is not so sharp^ and one may paint
all day long. Yes! Who could not love
Italy? Do you know about what I am
Panua Maria bent her head and looked
at him attentively, as was her custom
when she was listening to him.
" I think that every man has two father-
lands: one his own, and the other — Italy.
Because all culture, and all art, and all
knowledge — everything comes from there.
Lot us take renaissance. Truly! Every-
body is a child, or at least grandchild of
" Yes,'' answered Panna Maria.
He spoke further:
"I don't remember whether I told you
that I have a studio in Rome, on the Via
Marghetti, and since the light has become
so sharp here, I long for my studio.
On the Sunny Shore. 161
How lovely it would be if we could go to
Kome! Afterward we would go to War-
"It's impossible \" answered Panna Maria
with a sad smile.
He approached her suddenly, and tak-
ing hold of both her hands, spoke, looking
into her eyes with a great tenderness:
" Yes, it's possible, my dearest! Don't
you gaess how?"
And when she became pale he pressed
her hands to his breast and added:
'* Give me yourself!"
i2fnOt cidiA, $i,2S
Author of "Chamber Over the Gate," Etc., Etc.
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